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ROUGH CUTS | We’re still lucky even with Omicron

Vic N. Sumalinog

BASED on existing numbers of new CoViD infections in the country, there is no doubt that the Omicron variant of the virus is indeed very transmissible. Imagine recording of new cases to as many as over 30 thousand daily during the last few days until last January 20! The government and health authorities are more than correct when as early as late last year they were already warning that the new strain is a serious “cause of concern” for everyone.

     But luckily, there are two things positive as the virus reached the Philippines. These are the level of vaccination presently in place, and the apparent lesser gravity of the variant’s impact on its infected individual.

     Yes, in the Philippines, no matter how the anti-administration put down the efforts of government in implementing the mass vaccination program, it is a given that a good number is piling up towards the goal of establishing a herd immunity. As a positive consequence the impact of the virus’ entry into the physical system of vaccinated individuals is lessened substantially. And this fact is easily verifiable in the percentage of the number of cases categorized as mild (95% so far) compared to either serious or critical. Moreover, the recoveries are growing up in number and those who died have been diminishing on a daily basis.

     On the same vein, the utilization of hospital facilities in the whole of the country has so far been kept at the minimum. This is one indication that most present cases are considered manageable in household facilities through isolation or simple home treatment.

     In other words, the present CoViD infection situation under the so-called omicron strain is not as morbid as it was during the surge of the Delta variant where in countries most affected like India and Indonesia, crematoriums were overflowing. Hospitals were awash with patients inside ambulances waiting to be admitted even as they were gasping for breath.

     And who will ever be able to erase in their minds such scenes as burning dead bodies in public plazas and other vacant spaces; hospital hallways converted into emergency wards? Imagine too, parents or relatives who were not allowed to accompany their sick kin waiting for them to be back home alive and suddenly finding themselves recipients of the urn containing the ashes of their relative victims of the CoViD Delta variant attack! What pitiful scenes to behold. One big No Thanks to the Delta variant of course.

     Then came the Omicron which before its unfortunate entry to the country was putting the rest of the world on the edge. But luckily for us in the Philippines, the preparation was already substantial and well in place. Thanks to the government and the untiring selfless sacrifices of our frontliners.  The surge apparently has already gone this steep and high. In fact, if we have to go by the numbers again the infection rate is starting to slow down. There are even loud whispers of health experts proposing to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to down-grade the alert level specifically in Metro Manila which is the epicenter of the surge.

     There are however, a good number of health experts who believe that it is not yet time to downgrade the alert level as the increase in daily infection has just started to manifest in other cities and provinces.

      Indeed there is need for everyone in the decision-making level in government to listen to what every expert says, whether for or against the downgrading. The virus appears to be very treacherous. Since its prevalence two years ago there were times when lulls occurred. But records show that the lulls or short breaks in the attack rate were actually “calm before a much stronger storm” ahead.

     So, it would be much better for our health experts and decision-makers to be more discerning and be weary of the effect of complacency. As they say, “Better be safe than be sorry.”

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     We could not help but ponder on the actuation of some viewers of the program of news anchor and program host Jessica Soho of GMA television dubbed as “The Presidential Interviews.”

     Yes, we were referring to Soho’s presentation of some objects or persons to the interviewees where they were asked to describe or comment or react in “One Word” to what they saw.

     When the host showed the image of the United States flag candidates VP Leni Robredo and Senator Manny Pacquiao simply said “the flag of the United States.” So was their comment when they were shown the flag of China. Their answers elicited laughter from the netizens. Only Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Mayor Isko Moreno commented differently and their reactions seemed easily acceptable by the netizens.

     If you were the interviewees what would you have commented on the presented images? Bi daw, tan-awon nato…

     (For comments/reactions e-mail us at victorino.sumalinog@yahoo.com or call us at 09392980435 or 0622372169.                              

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