Almost exactly three years ago, Filipinos were struck down (literally and figuratively) when the first cases of the novel coronavirus disease, later known as Covid-19, were reported in this country.
Here in Laguna province, the severity of the global pandemic became evident in the months after the first lockdowns went into effect.
Hospitals became overcrowded, strict health protocols were put into place, whole business sectors grounded to a halt, and an air of misery, anxiety and uncertainty prevailed.
As Lagunenses were beset with one of the worst health crises the world has ever experienced, surviving each day became a daily task. Never mind planning for the future; what mattered is getting through each day without catching the virus or losing a job or going broke.
Three years, 181,000 cases, and 1,684 deaths from Covid-19 later, it’s become clear that the pandemic has become more of a distant nightmare than a stark reality for most of us.
Cases are now in single-digits, most business sectors and activities have fully resumed, and despite the current high inflation rates that have driven the prices of basic goods and commodities up, there’s now an air of optimism and hope that we can fully recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Yet in all our rush to move on from the worst effects of a global pandemic, let us not forget those positive traits that have enabled us to survive: the bayanihan spirit that pushes us to help others in need; the consideration and empathy for those who are less in life; and above all, the push to hold our leaders accountable for their actions at the height of this crisis.
And even as we’re seeing our lives return to normal, let’s not let down our guard and continue to prepare for whatever health crisis we may face next.