NO war and catastrophe have had the most crippling effect on society—people and the economy—of all nations except the SARS-CoV2, the virus that caused COVID-19.
On its second year now, COVID-19 continues to paralyze people and economies around the globe, forcing lockdowns and costing trillions of dollars in economic assistance or bail outs to people and industries (small and medium to the largest conglomerates) because of its resurgence and the numerous waves of the virus’ mutations.
People are dying by the hundreds of thousands each day. The Philippines just recorded yesterday its highest number of deaths at 382 deaths for a single day.
The hospitals are not just overwhelmed but there simply are no beds for victims.
Cadavers have filled the morgues of hospitals and are taking time to be sent to funeral parlors for ‘processing’ before burial or cremation.
The crematoriums are now full and have a long list of cadavers to burn. If cremations are not done at once, then there is a possibility of a contagion of another disease from bacteria or germs that could accumulate in the air.
Every single day, Facebook and Twitter have notices from netizens about the latest victims of the virus, which has increasingly been hitting not just individuals but families and portions of communities.
When I look at my Facebook each day, I write so many condolences each day, without fail.
Government offices involved in handling the pandemic are now in a quandary as to what to do—given that vaccines are not forthcoming until the second semester and hospitals are now running out of essentials like refills for oxygen tanks, ventilators, PPEs (personal protective equipment of medical front liners) and quarantine/isolation facilities in view of overcrowding in hospital ERs (emergency rooms) and ICUs (intensive care units).
Yet, the cry for reviving the economy continues to bug both the private and public sectors.
There is indeed a need to revive the economy if the country is to survive and thrive. But like other countries in the globe, the Philippines is facing a deadlock as to how to move forward.
The virus—which I strongly believe is Satan’s instrument to sow distrust, disunity, discouragement, and loss of faith that things would improve—is certainly succeeding.
But we must not allow this to happen. We must keep fighting and believing that there is something better waiting for us all and that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel.
But for now, let us care and pray for each other and keep ourselves and our families safe from the virus by abiding by the safety protocols of constant handwashing, sterilizing things that we use outside (when entering our own homes/offices), avoiding socializing, maintaining social distancing, wearing of face masks and shields when outside and avoiding getting out of the house except for emergencies.
New variant, new spreaders
In the United States, a new Covid-19 variant is now being easily spread by a group that had been relatively unaffected by the pandemic, children, said epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy last Sunday.
"Kids, particularly those eighth-grade and younger, were not really much part of the pandemic that we saw in the past 10 months," said Osterholm to Fox News.
But with B.1.1.7, the kids are now getting infected at the same rate as adults and they are very effective at transmitting the virus.
Osterholm noted that in Minnesota in the last two weeks, 749 schools had reported COVID cases. "Anywhere you look where you see this emerging, you see that kids are playing a huge role in the transmission of this," he said.
"All the things that we had planned for about kids in schools with this virus are really no longer applicable. We've got to take a whole new look at this issue."
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said that new COVID-19 cases in children younger than 10 rose by 230 percent, higher than any other age group. Children and young adults aged 10 to 19 saw a 227 percent rise in cases.
“Much of the rise in pediatric cases can be linked to the reopening of schools and youth sports,” CBS News reported.
Osterholm said that B.1.1.7 is 50 to 100 percent more transmissible than previous strains of the coronavirus and causes 50 to 60 percent more severe illness.
"The only good news about this," he noted, "is that the current vaccines are effective against this particular variant.
COVID tends to cause only mild illness in children, but those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk for severe illness.
And as Osterholm noted, children can spread the disease to older adults who are more susceptible to complications.”
While there is no scientifically proven cure for this virus, there is no substitute for maintaining one’s health through eating proper meals, drinking a lot of fluids, getting sufficient sleep and rest, exercise and meditating/praying to boost our faith in ourselves and in God.