Bold moves to beat Delta

GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion - The Philippine Star

Our country’s objective is very clear: we have to protect the 4th quarter of the year since it is the time when our businesses are at their peak, and also the period when consumer spending is at its highest due to the Christmas season. Timely for the upcoming change of the country’s leaders in 2022, election spending will also start to ramp up during that period. Along with that, we also have our government’s stimulus package kicking in. These are the reasons why we need to protect the 4th quarter at all costs, as the last few months of the year will determine if the majority of us will survive the current year.

Likewise, it will also set the tone and provide a forecast of how favorable 2022 will be. So, while we are still in the 3rd quarter of the year, we need to do everything to provide a strong cushion for the 4th quarter to protect it against the Delta variant that may possibly hit us severely.

The proper and most rational approach for us to adopt in our own homes and workspaces is an intensified vaccination so that we can achieve herd immunity. Each family must aim to target 100 percent vaccination of their households. For our safety, it may be reasonable not to go out with our peers who are not yet vaccinated, and the same thing can also apply with the members of our families. In our workspaces, we must aim to vaccinate 100 percent of our employees, if not, lower than 80 percent of them. To put it into its proper context, when we say ‘workspaces,’ we refer to office buildings, manufacturing facilities, malls, restaurants, health and wellness centers and the like. We need to make sure that the places where we work have people that are fully-vaccinated, more so the front liners.

The transport groups, which take people from their homes to workplaces, back and forth, must innoculate their drivers and conductors. In this way, we build a wall of defense and the more we do it, that wall becomes stronger. When we are able to do this, we then galvanize that wall, so we can achieve micro-herd immunity in our own bubble. This is the approach we must take for us to have a better chance to save lives and livelihoods for a better Christmas and New Year.

We need to do that as soon as possible – this is because the Delta variant is exponentially stronger a thousand times in viral load as compared to previously detected variants. For example, if the Alpha variant is two to three times more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain, then the Delta variant is six times more transmissible than the Alpha variant. To demonstrate this, an individual infected with the Delta variant can easily transmit COVID-19 up to seven people through close contact in less than 15 minutes from exposure. The transmissibility of infection from a human carrier is actually highest during the first four days from the onset of the symptoms.

With this, I introduce the principle of reciprocity with reference to achieving a fully-vaccinated population. The more vaccinated individuals occupy an area, the higher freedom and mobility they deserve. As we vaccinate more people in workplaces, this is where our businesses can finally ask for an increased operational capacity – which means, more employees can be allowed to go back to work, more customers can enter various retail outlets, and more passengers can be allowed to ride a particular mode of public transportation. However, if the Delta variant is still right in front of our eyes, an increase of capacity to those I mentioned will be put on hold. This will be the case until we see an abrupt decrease in the cases of those who tested positive with the Delta variant.

The caveat is – we need to incentivize the vaccinated population by giving them more mobility and accessibility to establishments, especially because the unvaccinated people are an imminent threat against the vaccinated ones. If we are limiting outdoor mobility of children below 18 years of age – who are not yet vaccinated, then what prevents us from applying the same logic to adults who are not also vaccinated? Interestingly, children have stronger immunity than the adult population. We have to realize that the ones who are causing the increase of cases are those who are unvaccinated. We are actually playing Russian roulette with them since they are a threat to their own bodies as they do not have sufficient protection and threatening others who are at risk because of them.

Further, the unvaccinated population creates a ripple effect to the entire healthcare capacity if their hospitalization – one thing that vaccines prevent – will lead to the total exhaustion of the country’s medical system. If the unvaccinated are the main culprit, then what are we going to do to prevent our country from collapsing? So much for excuses that there is still a dearth of vaccine supply. Look at our office, even if our employees know for a fact that we have procured our own vaccines, some of them take their chance on getting vaccinated using the supplies from the national government. If there is a will, there is a way.

We have to be at our most rational self in rethinking if we are on the right track to finally use a silver bullet against the Delta variant. We have to brace ourselves for the fiercest, boldest move, just in a snap when push comes to shove.

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