Riding out the crest of the crisis
Commuters in Manila wear face masks to protect themselves from COVID-19.Photo by Miguel De Guzman
Riding out the crest of the crisis
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2020 - 12:00am

When jitters turned into tremors over the swift spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, I never thought it would shake the world the way it is doing now, or that the Philippines would ever overtake China with the number of COVID infections.

Not that I thought we were healthier or that we were God’s favored people. I just never thought we would one day have the sad numbers to overtake the sad numbers in the world’s first known epicenter of the COVID outbreak.

The Philippines as of Wednesday (July 29) recorded 1,874 new coronavirus infections, bringing its total to 85,486. According to The Straits Times, “By comparison, according to data gathering firm Worldometer, China had 84,060.”

Philippine General Hospital medical director Dr. Gap Legaspi told me that the Philippines has reached a point where one should consider even family members and oneself as potential carriers and practice social distancing even at home. We stay home in order to stay safe, but nowadays, staying home is no guarantee anymore against catching the deadly virus.

A 90-year-old lady we know was lucky. She never left the house since the lockdown in mid-March, but she somehow got it. Some members of her household go to work, so we presume she got it from them.

For the 90-year-old lady’s children and for many of us, including myself, work is a necessity. Working from home is not a daily option. So, what to do? Aside from the 3Ws — Wear a mask, Wash your hands, and Watch your distance — what else can we do?

My doctor Rebecca Singson advises loading up on Vitamins C and Zinc. Chemist Toby Dayrit is a proponent of virgin coconut oil as a weapon against the virus. Dr. Gap Legaspi advised me that when I’m the solo passenger in the car, to roll down the windows by three inches on the driver’s seat, the front passenger’s seat, and the seat behind the driver’s seat to decongest the air as anyone could be a carrier.

Chemist Pinky Tobiano swears by Sanivir Smoke, which she claims “penetrates the deepest corners of the room and even air-con filters.”

Reports say Thailand has been very successful in keeping its COVID numbers down because its culture innately calls for social distancing. They bow to each other with hands clasped as if in prayer to greet each other, for instance.

***

It’s been a century since the deadly Spanish flu, and the world has changed drastically since then. But there are some things that remain the same.

According to an online article in the National Geographic, the 1918 flu, also known as the Spanish flu, lasted until 1920 and is considered the deadliest pandemic in modern history. Scientists and historians are now studying the 1918 outbreak for clues to the most effective way to stop a global pandemic. After all, the past offers clues to the future.

By the end of the pandemic, between 50 and 100 million people were reportedly dead worldwide, including more than 500,000 Americans.

“In 1918, the studies found, the key to flattening the curve was social distancing. And that likely remains true a century later, in the current battle against coronavirus,” posits the article.

***

As we await with bated breath the arrival of a vaccine against COVID, we have no choice but to hold on tight as we ride out the crest of the pandemic’s wave, which like a tsunami, seems to be rising higher by the day.

Several people have found life rings to hold on to as they stay afloat, even surge forward, despite the pandemic’s collateral damage.

Valerie’s Kitchen’s Valerie Sotto.

My sister Valerie Sotto, who runs a successful home-based business Valerie’s Kitchen, has relied on other entrepreneurs for the continued success of her business, which began with Food for the Gods, and now includes Dutch Apple Pie, Strawberry Torte, Rum Cake, Chocolate Cheat Day Cake, among others.

She told The Philippine STAR in an article she wrote for its online anniversary issue: “This trial has taught me to have faith in the resilience of my fellow entrepreneurs. Our shared passion and instinct for survival created an ecosystem of small business owners that supported each other and in the process became stronger together.

“From both ends — supply as well as demand — we truly stepped up for one other. We not only helped each other source ingredients, but we also started patronizing each other’s businesses, a symbiosis I am confident will endure long after this pandemic is finally over.”

Makeup artist turned baker Gio Flores.

Gio Flores has masterful and gifted hands as he is a talented makeup artist.

But overnight, Gio and his team of makeup artists and hairstylists found themselves with idle time on their hands, as events, from debuts to weddings, fashion shows to product shoots, were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely.

But the new normal opened new doors for Gio. He opened Giovanni’s Kitchen and created his own brand of Garlic Longaniza, his best seller. He also has Tuyo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil and for those with a sweet tooth, Mango-Peach Pie and the very unique flavor of Buko-Langka Crumble.

COVID survivor Chuchi Serrano-Villar.

Chuchi Serrano-Villar, a COVID-19 survivor, observes: “If there’s anything I really find so nice and heartwarming in this crisis we’re in, aside from family ties getting stronger, is that  almost everyone’s selling something — masks, protective personal equipment, purifiers, services, fruits, all sorts of food and delicacies. And the nice part of it is that almost everyone also buys from each other.”

Indeed, helping each other, and tossing life rings to others struggling to stay afloat in the time of the coronavirus is probably the best way to ride out the crest of this pandemic.

We sink or swim together, but with all these life rings we’re sharing — we’re going to swim together.

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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