In a barangay somewhere northwest of the city the public market and its main business area suddenly became empty middle of last week.
This happened when rumors started circulating that a frontline health worker was reported to be CoViD 19 positive. The apprehension of residents in the said barangay and those from neighboring areas who do their marketing in the former place was triggered when they started getting reports that other than the health worker there was another one who was also discovered to be positive of the deadly virus.
On the very day that the report was spread around it was said that one of the two has gone to the public market to buy some food items for the house. That, according to rumors peddled around, led to the market goers to go home immediately and vendors to shut down shops aalso early as well.
The story about the CoViD 19 positives in the barangay concerned spread like wildfire. What with almost every tricycle driver and market goer going home telling their neighbors and everyone they met that there are CoViD 19 infected persons discovered by authorities in that barangay.
The veracity of the report was even buttressed with the transfer of the quarantine checkpoint location to the junctions of the main road and the road leading to the village where one of the reported two new CoViD 19 victims resides. The front liners assigned in that quarantine checkpoint became even stricter in the implementation of health protocols to travellers going to and outside of the area. The village was immediately put in lockdown.
Added to the strengthening of the rumors was the relocation of the bunkhouse for workers of a multi-billion peso project with a component stretch located within the barangay. The management of the firm undertaking the project also ordered its workers with residence in the barangay affected not to go home.
But last Sunday, it turned out the report of two CoViD 19 cases was incorrect. There was indeed a confirmed case and that the victim was a health front liner. But the confirmation happened when the victim voluntarily advised health authorities of his having the symptoms of the virus infection.
According to our source who works with the local government the new victim was picked up from his residence for confinement and all members of his family and those whom he had closed contact with were also immediately administered the CoViD 19 test. Luckily all of the victim’s relatives and persons he had mingled closely – there were thirty of them contact-traced — tested negative of the virus.
Clearly the misinformation brought about by rumors spread by just anybody who heard of the unverified reports is the usual cause of panic among people who have become so paranoid of getting infected by the deadly virus.
Maybe it is worth for our local officials to look into the totality of the Heal as One Act and find out if a provision or two allows the crafting of local enabling ordinance that authorizes imposition of penalties to people spreading rumors and false information while the city is under the state of health emergency due to the prevalence of the CoViD 19 pandemic.
We really do not know if the boredom of staying at home for the longest period ever due to the CoViD 19 pandemic has bearing on the change of behavior of some people.
May be some of our psychologists and psychiatrists could provide explanations on two recent incidents in the midst of the “Stay at Home” mandate of government to the people to avoid getting infected by the dreaded disease.
Yes, was it not only last week or late the other week that a grandson killed his grandparents claiming he was annoyed by the noise they made? And the assailant who did not deny the crime he was suspect of, further said that he could not anymore stand with the noise his two grandparents were continuously creating in their house so his only remaining recourse was to slay them both.
Then there was another similar bloody incident reported in Cagayan de Oro City. This time the unfortunate victim of the crime was not a human being; it was an animal – a dog. According to the police in a television interview, the perpetrator got mad because the dog kept on barking and he could not stand the noise.
Wow! These incidents are new to us. Could these be results of boredom; or too long inability to hobnob with other people because of the desire of government to stop the further spread of the corona virus?
What do our good psychologists and psychiatrists say about this behavior of some people?
Pray tell us.