Briones: No need to panic

·2 min read

THERE has been a sense of urgency since the delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) arrived on Philippine shores.

Blamed for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands in India and Indonesia, the Duterte administration has great reason to be alarmed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the delta variant as a variant of concern because it has increased transmissibility. But here’s what the public needs to understand. Although it spreads between people more efficiently, the delta variant is not necessarily deadlier. However, it can cause havoc and mayhem when it overwhelms a country’s health care system.

In the US, hospitals are filling up in several states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada and Florida, which have reported serious outbreaks.

But it’s important to note that outbreaks happen in states where the rate of vaccine hesitancy is high.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky reportedly told Congress that “the delta variant is now responsible for 83 percent of all Covid cases sequenced in the US.”

President Joe Biden and his Covid team have urged the public to get the jab since majority of the new cases, hospitalizations and mortalities are in unvaccinated individuals.

The Philippines does not have the US’ resources, which is why it has been scrambling to prevent a similar scenario from happening.

Coupled with the fact that the Duterte administration faces a Herculean task of convincing many Filipinos to get vaccinated and the country suffers from a limited and sporadic supply of vaccines, it really needs to get its act together as quickly as possible without sowing fear and panic.

But to combat this problem, it needs the public to cooperate.

Fortunately, the government has started enforcing proven health and social measures that prevent infections and reduce the spread of the virus.

Yes, getting the jab is the first line of defense against infection. But when the majority of the population is unwilling to get inoculated and the supply of vaccines is limited, then the next best thing is to follow these simple steps, according to WHO’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.

Make sure you have clean hands, she said. Wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth and make sure your hands are clean when donning the mask. Sounds familiar?

Also, avoid crowded spaces. And don’t forget to observe social distancing. When indoors, make sure the room has good ventilation, she added.

These things shouldn’t be hard to do since we have been doing these for more than a year.

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