I am not intending to no longer wear a face mask when going out, but sometimes I forget to wear one. But unlike when Covid-19 was at its height
in 2021, I no longer worry. The grip of Covid-19 on the country, after all, has loosened, and I have gotten nonchalant about its spread. Or at least that is what I am feeling nowadays.
But Octa Research has been aware of this nonchalance and has been diligently tracking the movement of the virus in the country. The good thing is that the previous regime actively pursued vaccination before the term of Rodrigo Duterte ended. So another spread of the virus has at least been slowed down. What is worrisome would be when new virus variants surface. That is why some sectors are pushing for the return of an effective deterrent to the spread of the virus: the wearing of face masks and a renewed embrace of cleanliness.
Of course, many Pinoys, including some government officials, are opposed to that. President Bongbong Marcos seems open to such a possibility but the Department of Health is not pushing hard for it. But given the current circumstances, I would say that it pays to take heed of whatever Octa recommends based on its monitoring.
Admittedly, the international community is already talking less about Covid. After all, we are already some two years removed from when the spread of Covid was on its peak in 2020. Vaccination efforts worldwide have been seemingly successful and there are no reports of the surfacing of dangerous and deadly variants anywhere.
Which brings me to the matter of complacency, which is a dangerous thing considering that the virus is not expected to go fully away anytime soon. That is why continued monitoring and awareness have become advisable. As they say, “prevention is better than cure.” There are two ways of doing that. One, is to ensure that vaccination worldwide is complete. The other is to continue monitoring the surfacing of possible Covid variants. We should always be ready for any eventuality.
The worst thing for us is to be caught unaware again. We are lucky that the scientific community was able, on such short notice, to come up with a vaccine effective enough to have prevented the further spread of the virus. We may not be as lucky the next time around.
And it wasn’t all luck. It was good that some of the world’s billionaires and wealthy countries helped in making the vaccines available for poor peoples and countries. The Philippines was a beneficiary of such an effort and we should be thankful for that.
Here, complacency would be our worst enemy. Covid-19 has given us lessons, especially on the gathering of resources and the use of international institutions and organizations. We should not let go of these. And continued monitoring is necessary. The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a glimpse of how worldwide cooperation would look if the earth is being threatened by enemies of humankind.
May 22, 2023
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