Latest updates on US immigration due to COVID-19
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - March 29, 2020 - 12:00am

Continued from previous column

Here is the deal.

At present, there are only 89,000 hospital beds in the whole Philippines, both at the public and private hospitals. The number of ICU beds are pegged at around 3,000, already included in the 89,000. Not all of these 89,000 beds are isolation beds. It includes beds in the general wards, shared rooms, and private rooms not built for respiratory illnesses. Also, there are patients presently admitted in these 89,000 beds. We all know that our hospitals are fully occupied that some patients are even lying on gurneys and stretchers in the hallways. I was once a nurse before at VSMMC, so I should know what the real situation is.

If we assume that of those 89,000 beds, 90% of which have patients on it, we have a vacancy of 8,900 beds (10%). Then we subtract 8,900 beds from the estimated 75,000 new beds needed for COVID-19 patients as forecasted by the DOH, we then would need a total of 66,100 beds. Where will we find those 66,100 new beds for isolation and ICU cases?

 And let us not forget how many ventilators we need, the testing kits, the personal protective equipment, the medicines and the financial costs of fighting this virus.

Also, we have very few health workers at the front lines battling this emergency. We cannot afford to lose even one nurse or one doctor or one medical technologist or one healthcare worker by being infected with the coronavirus. If this is a war against an invisible enemy, we cannot afford one soldier to be down and out. One is too many.

Thus, we cannot simply ignore the social distancing/quarantine measures just because we think we will not be infected by COVID-19. This is not about you. This is about not straining and draining further our healthcare system which is already way beyond its breaking point.

If this measure is left unheeded as I see it happening now, I suggest that it is high time for a total lockdown and other more drastic actions to be implemented. Or else, this situation will get much, much worse in such a short period of time.

Think about this: If the wealthy nations such as the US, Canada, China, Italy, and Spain, all of which have the best healthcare system and with vast resources at its disposal, have been shaken by COVID-19 to its very core, how would the Philippines, being a third-world country, manage to survive this crisis?

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