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Business

Ebb and flow

INTROSPECTIVE - Tony F. Katigbak - The Philippine Star

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during this pandemic, it’s how to roll with the punches. While some do it better than others – and some are much more privileged to do so – we all have had to find ways to make it through the day. For most of us, that means going on survival mode and trying to find a way to make it through 24 hours, then eventually a week, a month, and so on.

For many Filipinos, survival is hard. Especially these days. It was already hard enough with dwindling resources, lower wages, and public transportation congestion, among other problems before the pandemic. COVID-19 just threw everything out the window and everyone had to find new ways to cope and survive.

If that wasn’t hard enough, when the vaccines came out and we felt we may have a sliver of light shining at the end of the long dark tunnel that was 2020, the variants arrived and made sure to remind us that we aren’t out of this deep valley yet. Who knows how many more speed bumps lie ahead?

But, we have to find ways to be resilient because we don’t have any other choice. I’m sure, looking back, we never thought that we’d make it this far. When we first went into lockdown in March 2020, people had no idea how we would make it through the month, let alone the entire year. But we did and we continue to do so.

We found ways to go with the ebb and flow. That is what this virus has taught us to recognize. That there are patterns in life even if we don’t see them. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down. Change is the only thing that’s ever truly constant. So, while we continue practicing safety protocols and make it through another surge, we need to be cognizant that this will not last forever.

That should be motivation enough to follow the guidelines. The better we do, the sooner we can see an improvement. While the numbers are daunting – 16,000 to 20,000 and more daily – we need to remind ourselves that if we do our part it won’t be like this forever. Scientifically speaking, every virus has a rise and fall. It’s just normal.

Right now, scientists are trying to learn everything they can about COVID-19. That means studying the patterns in the way it operates and the way the variants appear and spread. Much like the original strain of coronavirus, all variants will emerge, spread rapidly, reach a peak, and then eventually begin to decrease at some point. We’ve seen this happen many times – in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and other countries around the world.

But while the thought might be comforting, it doesn’t mean that we should let our guard down. After all, we’re not there yet. If anything we’re still in the spreading rapidly portion. At this point, we’re looking at Delta causing roughly 70 percent of the new transmissions and infections in the Philippines, and I do not doubt that the number of Delta cases is going to increase much more before we get to the decline portion.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. People are getting sick and dying every day. Now is not the time to get complacent. We have to double down on safety and safety protocols if we want to reach the downward part of this variant cycle and make it out the other side.

* * *

Considering the current surge of coronavirus cases, I don’t think that face-to-face classes should be the priority. We need to find ways to ensure that children and minors are safe before finding ways of getting them back into the classrooms. Even in the United States and other countries with high infection rates – in-person classes remain a challenge.

We need to be sure we are considering the health and safety of the kids when deciding how to proceed. While the original coronavirus strain may not have impacted them as much as it did adults, the Delta variant is proving to be different and there are a lot more pediatric cases now that even require hospitalization.

And since the first round of the virus was less dangerous to children, the vaccines focused on adults first and those most vulnerable. Now though, scientists and doctors are scrambling to find ways to use vaccines to protect children too. As of now, Pfizer and Moderna are already approved for use in adolescents. Studies are ongoing to be able to vaccinate even younger kids.

Understandably, online classes are just not getting it done the same way that in-person classes do, but until such time that we can better protect our kids, we can’t rush them back to school. We need to use this time to learn more about pediatric COVID vaccination and proper children safety protocols.

While that’s happening, those in charge of education and schools must continue to innovate and find ways to make online classes more engaging and impactful. This is the hand we’ve been dealt for now and we have to find ways to make it work.

COVID-19
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