Letters to the Editor

Life must go on, but…

The Philippine Star

It seems that even COVID has acknowledged that it is no longer the hot topic of the day, as the number of new infections has significantly decreased the past few days. Unfortunately, the 2022 election has become top of mind these days, with the slime and grime of this political exercise increasingly dominating – polluting – the landscape. It’s getting hard to say which is worse – COVID or politics.

But make no mistake – COVID is still with us and, if we’re not careful and mindful, it could roar back and knock us right back into lockdown.

Passing Roxas Blvd. the other afternoon, I was surprised at the number of families – adults with kids of all ages in tow – enjoying the sea breeze along the seawall and the baywalk, sitting on blankets and mats, kids running around. Some were masked; others not. Going to a meeting in Binondo the day before, I was shocked at the crowds and the traffic jams, so unexpected that I ended up being late for my meeting, having hugely under-estimated travel time. I was told the situation would get worse as the holiday season nears; Christmas shopping does not pay attention to alert levels.

Are we really ready to let go and get out? There is wisdom in no longer aiming for zero-COVID but rather learning to live with COVID – getting vaccinated, observing minimum safety protocols and hygiene practices – but it is by no means time to go free-for-all.

I had mixed reactions – negative and positive – at an incident that occurred last week. Going to the parking level after grocery shopping, we were four – the allowed capacity – in the elevator, with two shopping carts. When the doors opened at the next level, I heard one of those waiting say, “Ay, puno na” and no one tried to get on. A man, however, pushed his way past the senior gentleman at the front and wedged himself between him and the lady’s cart. When the other man said, “Wala na tayong social distancing,” the interloper – who had his mask under his chin and his shield on top of his head – retorted, “Kalokohan yang COVID na yan, gawa-gawa lang yan ng gobyerno.” I think all four of us were too shocked to answer; fortunately he got off at the next level.

It was a rude reminder that there are those who still deny the seriousness of this sneaky virus. A friend I related the incident to said that man probably hasn’t had a family member or friend suffer through or die – alone – from COVID, leaving behind a huge medical bill. But I was also heartened to see many others following the protocols.

That will probably be the situation for us in the foreseeable future – life goes on, but with certain limitations. – Teresa Salvador, Pasig City

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