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Opinion

Somebody’s asleep under pandemic net

POSTSCRIPT - Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

A feeling of helplessness could overwhelm one when he sees family members, relatives and friends dying of COVID-19 without his being able to help them fight the unseen virus and its variants. This psychological quagmire can trap average Filipinos.

We all want stricken family members rushed to the hospital, and those feeling early symptoms taken to a doctor and given the right medicines. For many plain folk, however, that is easier said than done, mainly because of the problem of how to pay the staggering bills.

The general order during the pandemic is to stay home unless one can show proof of vaccination and explain the urgency of his stepping out. But for many people on hand-to-mouth existence, it would require a miracle to find food and other essentials knocking at the door.

We’ve been counseled to pray, to keep hoping. Yet the Church itself, which accounts for at least 85 percent of the population, has been told by secular authorities to limit the number of devotees in places of worship. It’s eerie having masses celebrated in empty churches.

At this time, many rural folks crammed in heavily infected urban centers like Metro Manila feel their families would be safer in the countryside, but they cannot just abandon their jobs to move back to their home provinces. Besides, normal mobility has been restricted.

We see scary numbers hoisted high. On Sunday, infection soared to an all-time daily high of 28,707 cases and is still climbing. The other week, the daily caseload was below 1,000, a low count that lulled the experts into thinking the mutants were retreating.

The positivity rate has climbed to 44 percent, meaning almost half of those tested for COVID have proved positive. This level is expected to rise shortly to more than 50 percent, way above the 5 percent positivity set by the World Health Organization for opening economies like ours.

Health officials said a shift from the present alert Level 3 to a stricter Level 4 is likely in some places shortly, which means total lockdown, if the uptrend continues. It appears in hindsight that the placing recently of such congested areas as Metro Manila on Level 2 when incidents started dropping may have been ill-advised.

There are reports of many households with one member suddenly being found positive, followed later by others in the same dwelling also showing symptoms before the first victim (the unsuspecting carrier) could be isolated.

When people are told to stay home, how would those who are actually homeless comply? If President Duterte visits those who somebody else said were in the “laylayan” or the fringes of society, he would understand this question about people being ordered to “stay home.”

Some overseas Filipinos who flew in for a visit have found themselves COVID-positive after their release from the required quarantine. Should they still spend their remaining days here with relatives or fly out quickly, leaving the question of where they picked up the virus unanswered?

No wonder, we hear a number of people asking in exasperation: What’s going on? Who’s in charge? Who’s been sleeping on the job? (But those are not fair questions since we ourselves have installed the usual slumbering suspect, perhaps by mistake.)

DIY anti-COVID steps to take

The survivor that he is, the Filipino usually finds ways to save himself and those close to him in Do-It-Yourself fashion.

Long before the Food and Drug Administration had authorized the use of certain vaccines and medicines for preventing COVID-19 or treating its symptoms and side effects, Filipinos have been taking a variety of remedies that reportedly helped them survive the scourge.

Without professional medical advice, for instance, many people have been taking virgin coconut oil, concoctions from certain leaves like lagundi, warm water mixed with lemon/citrus juice and honey, selected vegetables and fruits – reportedly with salutary effects.

As the COVID-19 virus, especially the variants before the Omicron, are known to attack the air passages and the lungs, a popular prophylaxis and/or treatment is the inhalation of steam loaded with menthol and salt.

The Omicron variant that came after Delta is widely reported to have less harmful effects on the body, often sparing the lungs, so it is reported as easier to manage before it can inflict considerable damage to the patient.

Those who have not been vaccinated and who think they have started feeling the symptoms (fever, colds, cough, phlegm and flu-like body malaise) usually take medicines and supplements known to strengthen the lungs and the immune system such as vitamin C (at least 1,000 mg daily).

For fever, paracetamol sold over the counter is usually taken at 500 mg (for adults) every 4 to 6 hours along with naproxen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, for three days. Sleep well, drink plenty of water, exercise, stay clean and maintain a cheerful disposition always.

We are obviously not a doctor and are therefore not prescribing these items that we’ve been told or read about as being helpful in warding off COVID-19. It is best to consult a licensed doctor of medicine. If you have not had the shots, take the needed vaccinations which should be available, free of charge, in government clinics and volunteer inoculation centers.

When you survive until May 9, as we expect, go to the polling precinct early – wear a good mask, keep the proper distance from other people – and vote for those who you believe can best help us beat this pandemic, among other national problems.

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NB: All Postscripts are also archived at ManilaMail.com. Author is on Twitter as @FDPascual. Email: [email protected]

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