COVID-19 now a global pandemic
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - March 14, 2020 - 12:00am

Despite the initial cautious hesitation, it was clear that it was just a matter of time before COVID-19 would be confirmed by the World Health Organization as a pandemic. WHO officially confirmed COVID-19 a pandemic last Wednesday.

Derived from the Greek word “pan” meaning “all” and “demos” meaning people, the term pandemic is defined as an epidemic that has spread across a large region.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that the declaration means that COVID-19 “has spread to many countries, specifically 114 countries, with over 118,000 confirmed cases (90% from 4 countries- China, South Korea, Italy and Iran) and over 4,000 deaths.”

Now that COVID-19 is a pandemic, is it time for fear, panic, and hopelessness?

Ghebreyesus cautioned that the term pandemic should not cause “unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

All of us have to remember that there have been promising developments like a decline in cases in China and South Korea, of the 118,000 confirmed cases, 66,000 people have already recovered from the illness, and there are also 81 countries that still have not reported any cases.

As Athena Chan wrote in her March 12 International Business Times article:

“The label pandemic does not mean that there is nothing more we can do to turn the tide. What will happen in the coming days, weeks or even months may depend on how governments and members of the public will take action.”

Ghebreyesus noted that “that all countries, even those that already have community transmission, can still change the course of the pandemic by putting in the effort to contain the disease.”

Rather than panic and give up, we are reminded that “we have to persist in taking urgent and aggressive action and, to look out for one another. This includes all the members of society, from the leaders to the citizens.”

Hopefully, everyone is taking the preventive steps of proper hygiene like washing of hands, avoiding touching the face, among others, and most importantly, checking and sharing confirmed news, not misinformation or fake news. And no panic, please.

Governments and countries can take vital steps such as preparation and public education, early and reliable detection testing, accessible treatment, and transmission reduction.

And this actionable 5P’s advice from Ghebreyesus:

“Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership, and most of all, people. We're in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It's doable."

Yes! Together, we can protect everyone, including ourselves! Rather than be defeated by this present challenge, let us all rise up and beat this virus TOGETHER!

Already, this pandemic is uniting the whole world to speed up all efforts to control and contain the virus.

So much and so many are doing their best locally and globally to solve and effectively manage this pandemic. Our sincere gratitude and salute to all those who have and who continue to offer their presence, their time, their service, even lives, to those affected by COVID-19!

With pride, we applaud the joint effort of DOST and UP in producing inexpensive kits that will “democratize,” hasten and spread the testing to more areas, especially those that are hard to reach. The UP Team is also monitoring and comparing data extracted about the virus in our country with those in other countries. Hopefully, such collaborative global effort will accelerate the search for the control of this present virus!

Meanwhile, daily, shall we all join together and pray to God to heal our world soonest? Perhaps also have those church bells toll as well for everyone’s protection?

cballescas@yahoo.com

COVID-19
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