Briones: It’s serious, stupid!

Publio J. Briones III

THESE are extenuating circumstances.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) a pandemic.

By the way, before you start conjuring up doomsday scenarios, this novel coronavirus causes upper respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose in the majority of the infected, but it can cause more serious illnesses, especially in the elderly, which can lead to death.

“Pandemic,” according to the WHO, “has nothing to do with how serious the illness is. It just means a disease is spreading widely.”

As of Tuesday, March 24, there were 375,498 cases in 196 countries and 16,362 confirmed deaths. Those figures came from the WHO.

I checked the website of the Department of Health (DOH) early Wednesday morning, March 25, for the situation here in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, but it was down. It directed me to its Facebook page, but that wasn’t helpful either.

However, I found this site, statista.com, “an online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal that provides access to data from market and opinion research institutions, as well as from business organizations and government institutions.”

Looks impressive and legit, doesn’t it? Well, it’d better be since I’m going to be sharing information from the site about the Covid-19 situation here in the Philippines.

“As of March 23, there were a total of 462 patients who had novel coronavirus Covid-19 in the Philippines. Of these cases, 33 have died and 18 recovered. In addition, 606 people have been investigated for possible coronavirus infection,” statista.com said.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas assured that there has yet been no positive Covid-19 case tested at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City since its sub-national laboratory started testing patients under investigation (PUIs).

I will take his word for it.

I know, there have been rumors going around on social media. But I will ignore these. So should you. There’s really no point in second-guessing health authorities or the government on this matter.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has been clear from the very beginning. The measures her administration has put in place are there to prevent the spread of the virus.

She did not impose the 24-hour curfew for persons aged 65 and above and all students, including those who have graduated and are still unemployed, because she wanted to make their lives miserable. Although critics and people who have nothing better to do will try to convince you otherwise.

Still, Covid-19 is here. And trust me, the virus won’t care whether you take it seriously or not.