Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wenceslao: No lockdown?

It looks like a lockdown fatigue has descended on us at a time when the delta variant of the coronavirus is threatening to fuel another infections surge in Cebu. The fatigue has triggered misconceptions about this particular official action against the Covid-19 pandemic. There is this effort to downplay its importance,

To be fair to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF, the entity that decides on the imposition of lockdowns in any part of the country, lockdowns did play a part in efforts to flatten the curve when the surge in infections when it hit us early on. The economy was hit but the pandemic was contained. The idea that the lockdown kills is misleading because while life is hard during lockdowns, nobody died. But Covid deaths were real. That is why I don’t see any reason why our leaders would take away the use of lockdowns as weapon against the pandemic.

I was among the many who suffered from the previous lockdowns. Whatever was left from my retirement pay got used up so my family could survive. I sought help from anybody who could provide me with it. But I looked at the alternative, which was getting the virus. I remember talking with then Cebu City councilor and former congressman Antonio Cuenco for a job opportunity. Then he got infected with the virus and died. There were other offers but I was concerned not only for my safety but more so for the safety of my family. Those lockdowns hindered my plans but looking back, I feel it was for my own good too. I could have been more daring, but what would have been the price?

I usually look at things as part of a divine plan. I ask now whether it was but a coincidence that when the order for people of my age to stay at home was made, I was already spending much of my time at home as a retired editor. I could have been offered a job in a local government unit but wasn’t. It was then that it dawned on me that I needed to hold back. I soon ended whatever resistance I had to those lockdowns. These have a purpose and I had to adhere to them no matter how difficult.

I admit government officials have a different perspective. As I have written before, theirs is a difficult balancing act. The concern is not only people’s health but the health of the economy as well. But it would be wrong for them to just close their eyes to the pandemic and allow life to proceed as if nothing is happening. The administration of former US president Donald Trump tried doing that. The US ended up having the most number of Covid-19 deaths in the world. Can we afford that?

If we are to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections, we must be ready to bite the bullet. We need to accept the possibility of those lockdowns returning. Our government officials should instead find ways to lessen the burden of those who will be affected. If they can earn millions of pesos in graft, they should be able to set aside money for aid.


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