EVERYONE expected it. The sharp increase in the number of positive cases at this start of the new year had already been foretold in November and December of last year. In fact, the city government through the city mayor had even announced during that time that it had already logistically prepared in advance for the sure arrival of a spike sometime after the holidays.
Well, through no fault of our own, right? Surely, the Christmas spirit had feverishly been high in everyone this year (compared to not so much in 2020). Reasons could be the dramatic decrease in the number of Covid cases in the city plus the country in general, and the much-relaxed quarantine restrictions that involved freer travel and group meets (limited to only a certain number). Because of these, the yuletide season was more or less, like an open season on almost all other outdoor and related activities. To add, we even resumed the midnight mass and opened the beaches. All in all, December was a fete in itself.
But how did it go near the battlefront? A short respite of sorts for some frontline warriors. At least this time, it was not similar to that of the mid-year when the Covid hospitals were almost overrun with Covid patients while those lesser-affected ones, though still closely monitored, were strictly advised to undergo quarantine, stay home for 14 days or more. From a common man’s viewpoint, this may have been the calm before a storm. Now, many even blurt out, we enjoyed our holidays, didn’t we? So, grin and bear it.
Indeed, as though staying true to an invisible script, a steadily-rising increase in the number of positive cases began to appear on the news, even in the final days of December. In a Department of Health data drop as of January 2nd, fifteen out of the top twenty cities and municipalities with high cases of Covid had belonged to those from the National Capital Region, for it to be thereby given a level 3 status.
Then on foreign shores, the December variant, Omicron after having been discovered to be milder than Delta as it were more contagious, found new ally in a latest variant that had emerged in France with sources in Cameroon. The new mutant for the time has been dubbed as B.1.640.2, and has been said to have 46 mutations, compared to Omicron’s 30. At the moment, while this new variant’s attributes are still under review, these are what we have so far:
One of the initial givens remain, unvaccinated people suffer more than those who’ve been given the vaccines. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky of the US notes: “Unvaccinated people are about 6 times more likely to test positive than vaccinated people, 9 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related complications.” With new variants B16402 (almost reads like R2D2 and C3PO) coming out because of new transmissions, there just appears to be no end to this tragic affair. Yes, grin and bear it.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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