THE National Task Force created to battle another surge in Covid-19 cases has announced that local infections by the feared Delta variant of the coronavirus has started with some of the cases detected in such areas as the National Capital Region, Western Visayas and some places in Mindanao. The Delta variant is more infectious and was said to be the cause of the surges in Covid-19 infections in India and Indonesia.
This is happening even as some sectors have been lulled into a false sense of security and are calling for the lifting of the protocols that I should say lessened the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect in the country. People are starting to enjoy life again without wearing face masks, practicing social distancing or washing the hands. Public utility vehicles are overloaded again. Local government units are no longer tracing the pattern and path of infections or ordering household lockdowns when these are detected and local officials are regularly criticizing the protocols imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.
We are like a woman who has taken off her clothes and inviting a devastating surge of Covid-19 infections. All the while the health department is lulling us with the assurance that our facilities can cope with a surge in infections. This, even with the slow pace of the vaccination effort mostly because of the lack of vaccines.
We are playing into the hands of a sector who insists that Covid-19 is not real and the “scare” is a product of a conspiracy. This, plus the economic woes caused by the naturally stringent measures have sparked a mini rebellion of sorts against efforts to battle the pandemic. The stage is set therefore for a repeat of what happened in India and Indonesia.
It’s good that the Cebu City Government and the Emergency Operations Command have not let down their guard. Border controls must continue because only a single Delta variant virus, coupled by the current growing complacency could spark the feared third wave of infection in Cebu. We have to learn the lessons learned by our neighbor. Indonesia even had a better vaccination effort than us.
We could not normalize that easily. US sports is even now starting to feel the consequence of that as some sports personalities who have already been vaccinated have been infected by the virus. The current complacency could also be problematic for that country even with its high vaccination rate.
The pandemic is not yet over, especially in the Philippines. The idea that we can lead normal lives with the virus still in our midst is so “first world.” And we are not a first world country to begin with. The US at one time during the pandemic had the distinction of suffering the most number of deaths and yet it survived. But we are not the US. Our economy and culture are closer to those of India, whose experience with the Covid-19 infections is tragic.
So once again, my call is for everyone of us, government officials included, to not be complacent.