THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST MODERN PANDEMIC: COVID-19

In the Philippines, despite the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine to keep the spread of COVID-19 in check, some errant Filipinos still defy and violate the local government orders.

The guidelines for this measure are governed by some Philippine laws, such as RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act; RA 11469, otherwise known as the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act and the pre-existing Presidential Proclamations, the President, earlier pronounced.

On 15 April 2020, the Philippines topped Southeast Asia nations for the most number of COVID-19 cases followed by Malaysia and Indonesia according to the data compiled by the United States-based Johns Hopkins University. As I could also recall, the Philippines, moreover, recorded the first case of COVID-19 outside China on 30 January 2020—the same day the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus a global health emergency. The first-known COVID-19 case involved an index patient and a visiting 38-year-old Chinese woman who was confined in the San Lazaro Hospital in the capital city; then, within a few days, another case reached Hong Kong.

Major world leaders were caught off guard as the World Health Organization (WHO) was plainly confused while easing tension and zooming in the situation before 30 January 2020.

Finally on 11 March 2020, after a month of scrutiny, the WHO officially declared coronavirus a global pandemic as it already infected more than a hundred countries worldwide upon the pronuouncement.

The pandemic crises have considerably battered many countries, such as China, Italy, Spain, France, and the United States, among others, which have significantly been infected and crippled by SARS CoV-2, which causes the present coronavirus.

Shortly, major world leaders have carried out social or physical distancing, crowd avoidance and self-isolation to flatten the curve and to prevent overwhelming and straining the healthcare system in their countries. Some countries even directed the closure of schools, close down of non-essential business establishments, and encourage work from home as the coronavirus continues to heighten.

However, as the scarcity of medical equipment rises, health frontliners have seemed distressed and upset because some governments required them to reuse their masks, suits, and other personal protective equipment.

Medical frontliners from all quarters also faced discrimination from suspecting people. Some of them have been discriminately barred from entering their residences for fear that they may infect residents therein.

The United States, the top funder of the WHO, battles it out with other countries for personal protective equipment. They have been scrambling to secure surgical masks, N95 masks, ventilators, among other things in other countries as the death toll has risen day in day out since the country surpasses Italy. The United States, with a population of more than 331,000,000, recorded the most number of COVID-19 cases and the rising number of mortalities, as reported by the New York Times on 11 April 2020.

The unforeseen conundrum attributed to allowing some American companies outsource medical equipment in China, which reportedly limits the exportation of medical equipment outside the country, amid a quagmire in the American lives and the unprecedented rising COVID-19 cases and death toll.

Study shows that about eighty percent of medical supplies, like the high-quality Minnesota-based 3M productions, are supposedly manufactured in China.

At the onset of the pandemic, the United States had reportedly imported medical supplies and equipment to China to curb the burgeoning health crises of Wuhan City, where the virus allegedly originated.

Interestingly, in Metro Manila, some barangay officials had improvised an effective way of keeping the people at a proper distance, like painting a walk of fame-like track which guided villagers.

Photo: Dwain Badua ©

In my opinion, the premature reopening of the world economy can be more disastrous as more cases and infections predicted in the second wave of the great pandemic, and this excitement can likely lead to another prolonged lockdown.

Photo credit: Rhedel Sy

As the saying goes, history repeats itself. Pandemic flu has just happened afresh. The resemblances between the 1918 Spanish Flu and the COVID-19, both of them lacked a vaccine and a cure. The Spanish flu killed 2/3 of the world’s population (more than 50 million people), while COVID-19 remains unrelenting and dangerous. The Spanish flu invaded the generation of that time for 23 months or so. Let’s not wait for another month or months or even years before realizing the importance of staying at home and submitting yourself and family into self-isolation.

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