ON the first day of the week it was, I heard and later read, that the regulation on having physical barriers inside public utility vehicles while in transit has finally been lifted. Did this mean that encouraging social distancing in these matchboxes had already become a thing of the past?
As expected, photos of local jeepneys filled with passengers began to appear in both original and shared posts on social media all of a sudden. Judging from the flow of convo threads under these posts, the apprehension by many that the coronavirus might once again make a comeback spike, has naturally hugged the top spot. After all, one thing was certain. Vaccinated or not, what else is there to prevent body contact inside tiny confines such as a multi-cab? Another realization is, now we’re more exposed than before.
Sorry, I might have missed it, the justification for the lifting of this requirement of barriers inside transports, that is. Surely, we have not reached the 5% acceptable positivity rate yet, have we? It feels so strange, the gates that have restricted us for so long suddenly being flung open and we the herded flock, now standing by the threshold, puzzled and wondering what’s coming next.
One particular comment from among all the threads had caught my eyes though. It had mentioned that perhaps the lifting of the regulation might really have something to do with us finally reaching “herd immunity’.
Unfortunately, that fabled place in this pandemic landscape is still covered in heavy mist, or so it seems. During the end of 2020, the World Health Organization in its Q&A detail on the subject of immunity, had reported that the “percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease. For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80%. However, the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known.”
For all that it’s worth, the coverage of vaccinations initiated by all governments also happens to dwell inside the mist where Herd Immunity is located, guarded closely by politics and secret profit. No conspiracy theory here, mind you, as several articles have already been swept under and vaccinated into oblivion.
What us, hoomans possess in huge reserve however, is Herd Instinct. Wiki says this is our “inherent tendency to react in unison.” Once upon a time, during a boat trip to Camiguin island, our small ship was already at port when suddenly, somebody shouted that a boy had fallen overboard. In a second, everybody ran from one side of the ship to the opposite side to catch a glimpse of what had happened. Naturally, this caused it to tilt dangerously close to capsizing.
No moral lesson left in this narrative; I fear. Stay safe always and be mindful of all precautions. At least, that remains. In the end, it doesn’t matter if we’re on the same boat (though this time, not only bound for Camiguin) headed towards that misty isle or riding in the same multi-cab without barriers. For the latter though, just be mindful of the sign beneath the jeep’s portal though, as it reads, Keep Your Distance.
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