THE number of fatalities in this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is bigger than the figure reported daily by the Department of Health (DOH).
While the DOH records daily the number of deaths from Covid, at 12,900 as of March 20, 2021, there are deaths indirectly caused by the pandemic. These are deaths that could have been prevented had we not been in a pandemic, had people not hesitated to see their doctors or get treatment. Their failure to seek medical advice on time caused their condition to deteriorate until their bodies eventually gave up.
The death of Jan Catherine Sy, granddaughter of the late retail tycoon Henry Sy, last March 18 could be an example although the family has not revealed the details. The death of my brother, Gene, in October last year could be another one because my family believed he could have been saved had he not delayed getting medical help. Then there’s another one, an elderly woman, who had a fracture. She needed surgery but more than one week after her accident she still refused to go to the hospital for fear of getting infected by the virus.
Reports said Sy had sepsis but she didn’t know it. She reportedly didn’t get medical help until it was too late. It makes one wonder if she’d still be alive had the circumstances been different and there was no fear of infection with going to a hospital. Sy’s death was especially painful for her family because she was to get married next month.
My brother, Eugenio or Gene, died last Oct. 9. He felt unwell but didn’t want to go to the doctor because of Covid. He thought it was just his eyes acting up, giving him a headache and making him dizzy and weak. By the time he sought medical help, his condition was worse and it was too late for him. He died of a stroke. His first one.
An elderly woman needed surgery for a fracture she suffered in an accident. It has been over a week of painful days and nights but she insisted she did not want to go to a hospital. To have her surgery meant she would be swabbed in a Covid test. She and a companion would have to be tested per hospital protocol. But she didn’t believe in such tests because, to her knowledge, they often gave positive results even if you didn’t have the virus. Whatever the family decides, I hope she doesn’t suffer much and that it won’t be too late for her.
The fear of getting infected by the Covid virus was a factor that contributed to many other deaths of people who delayed getting medical help. They could have been saved had they visited the doctor or taken a medical exam. They are not included in the Covid count of fatalities yet they are among the victims of this pandemic.
It becomes imperative to control the spread of the virus to save lives not only from Covid but also from the paralyzing fear that has some deadly consequences. For everyone’s sake, wear masks and face shields, keep your distance, wash your hands often and avoid going out of the house. Save others.