Covid-19 updates
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - March 12, 2020 - 12:00am

The world has never been the same since December 2019 when the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China was first reported. The number of confirmed cases was initially in the hundreds, then thousands.

World Health Organization data show that, as of March 9, 2020, there were 110,029 confirmed cases and 3,817 deaths. From Wuhan, Covid-19 has gone global, now in 105 countries.

China has the most number of confirmed cases (80,904). Republic of Korea is second with 7382 cases and Italy at 3rd spot with 7375 cases while Iran has 6566 cases. Germany and France have about 1160 plus cases. For more Covid-19 updates, see https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.

The world awaits more reliable, definitive data about the virus- how it is transmitted, its incubation period, its cause/s, its cure and treatment.

While there are existing information guiding people and countries about how to deal with the virus, so much still remain to be known and definitely confirmed.

The uncertainty of not yet having stable information that can allow the world to definitely manage and control the virus is adding to the panic mode observable within our country and other countries of the world.

Until then, we are all told to stay calm, get reliable information, keep our immune system strong, wash our hands properly and frequently, maintain social distance (about a meter or three feet away someone who is coughing and sneezing), avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, practice respiratory hygiene (cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and dispose of used tissue immediately) and seek immediate medical help early if with cough, fever or breathing difficulty.

What if there are those in the same school, office or community who become persons under monitoring (PUM) or persons under investigation (PUI)? Are efforts being done to reach out and disseminate protocols for communities, schools, offices, churches, others?

The Philippines has declared a state of health emergency as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has risen to 33 as of March 10. The abrupt hike from the earlier reported low number of cases (10) is a cause for concern, especially that local transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

While it is good news to be told that the number of cases is low compared to other countries, there are those who ask if indeed enough tests or proper reporting were done by DOH? Senator Hontiveros urged the DOH to be “hawk-eyed and transparent with the public every step of the way.”

Congress has started drilling DOH about its capability and readiness to cope with this spreading virus. Is DOH doing reliable, widespread examination and monitoring throughout the country?

Critics have also pointed out that the billions taken out of the DOH budget should immediately be restored so the funds can be used for better and more equipment, facilities, salaries and a more reliable, accessible health service delivery especially to the most needy.

A ray of hope shone last Tuesday with the breaking news that our country now can use the approved covid-19 testing kit developed by UP National Institute of Health!

Our country can also learn from the various responses of other countries to the Covid-19 situation. We can, like Cuba, ensure popular participation and that “everyone works together, “with responsibility, seriousness, intelligence, observation, agility, efficiency, systematic control and, above all, with clarity in the modes of action for each possible scenario well oriented, well prepared, and can participate.”

John Hopkins announced the happy news that globally, 50,000 have recovered from the virus! The recovery of a 100-year old Chinese man, the oldest so far to beat the virus brings hope as well!

With faith in God and prayers, surely, the end of Covid-19 is forthcoming!

cballescas@yahoo.com

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