In the time of COVID-19
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - March 11, 2020 - 12:00am

As of this writing, the number of COVID-19 positive cases has risen to 24. President Duterte himself announced this during a meeting with DOH officials. Almost every city in Metro Manila has a positive case of COVID-19. Most have traveled to countries with COVID-19 positive cases, while others had close interactions with infected persons. But of great concern, however, are those who do not have any traveling history or close interaction with infected persons. Does that mean the virus is airborne? I hope not. Precautions are indeed the new norm in the time of COVID-19.

We have seen on social media pictures of malls devoid of people. Although malls insist it is safe, it is best to avoid large crowds for now. There are companies that encourage their employees to work from home. In fact, it only takes a laptop and fast internet to get jobs done. Refrain from handshaking. Use hand sanitizer at all times especially before entering the office. When coughing or sneezing, cover the mouth and wash hands immediately. Whenever possible, videoconferencing is recommended. Avoid meetings where many have to attend. Avoid touching your face. During meal times, employees should eat at their respective stations and not at the canteen or cafeteria. Perform hand hygiene frequently by washing with soap and water or using a sanitizer. And don't forget to wear a face mask.

Duterte has also announced the cancellation of all school levels in Metro Manila from March 10-14. That may even be extended. I laud this move as it may be difficult to monitor children's hand hygiene. No one wants to see high numbers of infected children. Immunocompromised persons such as those undergoing dialysis, those with diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, and those with cancer should be extra careful. I would suggest to avoid leaving the house.

At first, many could not imagine a widespread infection of COVID-19 in the Philippines. But due to the ease and speed of air travel today, the disease easily spreads. In China, the number of those positive for COVID-19 has decreased. What we want to hear is zero infection where it all started. But in other countries, however, the number is increasing, the Philippines included. Life has indeed been altered by COVID-19.

Research groups around the world are frantic in developing a vaccine against COVID-19. They claim to be ready for testing on humans. This time they should be sure the vaccine is safe for humans. We cannot have a repeat of the same problems the Dengvaxia vaccine went through. COVID-19 is a new virus so researchers need to study the best ways to block the virus from attaching to human cells. At present, prevention is still the key. What the World Health Organization does not want to declare is a pandemic or the worldwide spread of the virus. The last serious pandemic occurred in 1918, an influenza pandemic from the H1N1 virus. No one wants a repeat of that.

korina_abs@yahoo.com

COVID-19
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