Philippines enters ‘phase of acceptance’ in pandemic – Concepcion

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Philippines enters âphase of acceptanceâ in pandemic â Concepcion
Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and Quezon City's Joy Belmonte, who is renewing her term as mayor, at the "3M on Wheels" entrepreneurship mentoring event at SM City North EDSA on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Go Negosyo / Handout

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos continue to learn to live with the COVID-19 virus as the country enters a phase of acceptance in the pandemic, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said.

In a statement yesterday, Concepcion said the Philippines is entering a “phase of acceptance” in the COVID-19 pandemic, where people are aware of the risks but are learning to manage them.

“I believe it has started and that we will have to live with the risks of the virus still being around,” he said.

Infectious disease expert Benjamin Co said that the country cannot wait for everyone to decide on his or her personal health.

“We cannot protect everyone all the time. I guess we have already provided everyone with the tools to prevent, diagnose and treat Covid-19. The next move is ours on an individual basis,” said the OCTA Research fellow.

Co further explained that it may appear that SARS-CoV-2 cases are going down globally, but that it is not because there are fewer people getting infected, but because people are not testing as frequently as before and prefer to move on in spite of the pandemic.

The infectious disease expert further likened the pandemic to the stages of grief – anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“The sixth stage is the final journey after acceptance – finding meaning,” Co said.

He acknowledged the difficulty in returning to how things were before the pandemic. “We will never be the same anytime soon. Yet we need to be,” he said.

Meanwhile, Concepcion pointed out that Filipinos have been guided and advised for the last two years, and that vaccinations remain freely avail across the country.

“Doctors advise us on how we should handle Covid, but in the end it is us that makes the choice,” he said. “We suffer the consequences of our wrong decisions in life; this is no different.”
Concepcion explained that since the country cannot legally mandate vaccinations, it will need to stock up on antiviral medicines, especially to be able to treat those who become severely ill.

“The world has started moving on; let’s not be the last ones to accept this fact,” he added.

With the recent relaxing of outdoor masking rules, the former presidential adviser on entrepreneurship suggested earlier that the country make available and accessible antiviral drugs, and give the health care system the support it needs.

“I understand the position of our doctors; they have the best interests for our health. But I believe we need to move on and start treating Covid like the flu,” Concepcion said.
Concepcion said earlier that the Philippines is moving into a new phase of the pandemic as it allows optional wearing of face masks outdoors.
“We are moving to a new phase, one where Filipinos can manage their own risks, and where our approach now shifts to making sure we have mitigation strategies in place,” he said.

These mitigation strategies against COVID-19 include stocking up on antiviral pills, which Concepcion believes is a more practical move.

He stressed that the country should ensure that it has enough supply of antiviral pills, especially Paxlovid, which are currently out of stock in the country.

“This will become crucial as people start moving around without masks outdoors,” Concepcion had said.


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