Briones: One-year anniversary

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

EXACTLY one year ago today, Cebu City was placed under enhanced community quarantine to try and contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

A city of almost one million inhabitants was essentially locked down while authorities wondered how to go about fighting an invisible enemy.

The streets became deserted. Back then people complied with social and health protocols. They stayed inside their homes unless they had important business to attend to like buying food supplies and medicines. Only one person ventured out and that person carried a quarantine pass.

Almost everyone was afraid because this was the first pandemic they had encountered. But no one thought the nightmare would last this long or that it would exact such a heavy toll on the city and the rest of the country’s economy.

Thousands ended up losing their jobs. Hundreds of businesses were forced to shut down. But the people went on about their lives. Because what else were they supposed to do?

The pandemic might have been new to them, but they were familiar with suffering. The only difference is they had to put on a face mask and a face shield while they agonized over their fate.

In the beginning, those who got caught violating the government’s Covid policies were treated like common criminals and subjected to public humiliation. Never mind if the punishment might have inadvertently exposed them to the disease.

At one point, Cebu City even became a pariah, an island within an island, shunned and ridiculed for being the epicenter of the disease.

But what am I saying? That’s all in the past. The City Government and the people have moved on. After all, the elections are less than 14 months away. Politicians have to prepare.

And although there is still no cure for Covid-19, several vaccines are available, albeit only for medical frontliners and government officials who want to boost public confidence in the vaccine.

You would think Cebuanos would jump at the chance of getting inoculated, right? Wrong.

According to Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health (DOH) 7 spokesperson, only 51,635 health workers belonging to Group A1 of the government’s Covid-19 prioritization framework have been partially vaccinated.

The number accounts for 43.7 percent of the updated target of 117,973 health care workers in Central Visayas.

I don’t know how many health workers in Cebu City had the shot, but I hope it was more than half. Unless, they know something that we don’t.

So let’s look at the numbers again, shall we?

As of Friday, March 26, 2021, Cebu City logged 104 additional Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,885. Around 95 percent show mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. The death toll rose to 803, or less than 0.1 of the city’s population.