WE NOW know what the holidays can bring in terms of the rise in the number of infection cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The Christmas and New Year holidays and the Sinulog are not the last of those holidays. February will bring in the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. What lessons did we get from the past holidays that we will have to apply in the next celebrations?
Cebu City is seeing a surge in Covid-19 infection cases after the holidays and the Sinulog activities. Although restrictions were imposed and warnings against public gatherings were issued, some people went out to visit family and friends for Christmas and New Year and attended some of the Sinulog 2021 activities. These incidents led to the spread of infection.
Last Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, Cebu City posted 81 newly-reported Covid-19 cases, the highest in Central Visayas. It also had the highest number of active cases in the region at 903. Compare that to the 118 active cases in Cebu City on Dec. 31, 2020 to see the increase. The daily case recorded in the city last Saturday at 97 was the most number of cases since the city was placed under modified general community quarantine in August 2020.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) data showed that, of the city’s 903 active cases, 55 percent are considered “new cases,” referring to individuals who tested positive without direct exposure to a positive individual. The remaining 45 percent were close contacts with first to second degree of exposure to positive individuals. This means that more than half of those newly-reported infection cases were of persons who must have gone out of their homes during those holidays.
Health officials are hoping to see the cases start to decline by this week or end of January, but they also warned of the possibility that the new variant is already in the region. The new variant is said to be highly transmissible and deadly.
Knowing how holidays and celebrations can become superspreading events, what new measures do we take in the activities happening next month?
Abide by safety protocols. Stay at home, go out only if truly essential but limit the times you leave the house, keep your distance from others, wash hands frequently and wear your mask and face shield. These are the usual directives. How about new lessons from the recent surge?
Do not hold parties. Let the police watch party venues. Celebrate at home. The EOC and the Cebu City Government will have to give out new measures and other restrictions.
The Chinese New Year this year will be on Feb. 12. It’s not the same as the Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 celebrations, but it will gather families and friends to a night of fireworks and feasting to welcome the Year of the Ox. Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 falls on a Sunday, a good day for the family to gather.
Precautions have to be taken because a holiday should not lead to another surge in Covid-19 cases.