Sustaining the gains

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am

At the very least, we can state that efforts to combat the Covid-19 virus via safety procedures and regular vaccination have resulted in a decrease in the number of affected cases. Specifically, we believed that the vaccination efforts were sluggish in the first wave of implementation, but now several locations across the country have begun with the A4 category, which includes our essential personnel who must go out and work.   

But the battle is far from over. Because of mounting illnesses and heavy hospital occupancy, President Rodrigo Duterte extended partial coronavirus restrictions in the capital and adjacent provinces until the end of June, but tightened quarantine measures in more places. The government has enforced stricter measures in nine cities and 12 provinces across the Philippines, including those in the central and southern regions, limiting business operating capacity and shutting down non-essential establishments.

As shown by the modest spike in cases over the last month, the present declining trend is still fragile. The infection continues to pose a persistent threat to humanity. The fact that vaccinated persons are still infected with the virus, albeit in a milder form, suggests that this virus is more like a common illness like colds or flu, which can often be treated with over-the-counter medications and rest.

Sustaining what we've gained doesn't imply we have to return to pre-pandemic levels of comfort, because things would never be the same. It's probably close, but no one knows for sure when or how. Because the virus is still present, vigilance is a daily reminder.

To keep the gains, we must be honest about what we are doing for safety. We want to hide those moments when we don't wear or use our masks and face shields appropriately. Those photos that made it to Facebook posts have already been “sanitized”, with masks and face shields, but the truth is that there are no masks or face shields when away from the flashes. When someone sees us, we are just as good. Away from the prying eyes, however, we do as we like.

Even if others appear to have already eased their ways, such as spending their weekends as they did before the outbreak, we must continue to treat the situation as though it is close but far away. We are not yet safe as our brothers and sisters are still battling sickness in hospitals and isolation centers. Our fight isn't over yet.

As we continue to learn more, all aspects of our care have improved. Every day is a new opportunity to learn more about the novel coronavirus and save lives. And every day is an opportunity to learn more about COVID-19's ever-changing recommendations.

We seek out the most relevant and up-to-date information since knowledge is power. We don't want to go online and “doom scroll” through false information. We need to learn directly from the source in order to better understand why gyms open and subsequently close. As we continue to make progress, the most important type of vigilance we can employ is to educate ourselves.

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