Editorial: Cebu’s Covid ‘nightmare’

·2 min read

THE prognosis of the entire Cebu’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation is grim. A nightmare even, if you take Department of Health (DOH) 7 Director Jaime Bernadas’ word for it.

The death toll from the disease for the first 18 days of August alone has reached 700, nearly half or 45 percent of the 1,560 Covid-19 deaths reported in the island this year.

Fifty-six percent of the victims hailed from Cebu Province, followed by 24 percent from Cebu City, 13 percent from Lapu-Lapu City and seven percent from Mandaue City.

And even though the current death toll has surpassed the death toll for the whole of 2020, “the case fatality rate this year continues to be less than half that of 2020 because of the sheer number of new cases reported this year as a combination of new and more transmissible coronavirus variants and lockdown fatigue conspired to make residents more vulnerable to the virus,” wrote SunStar Cebu’s Cherry Ann T. Lim.

If that’s any consolation.

According to Lim, Cebu’s case fatality rate this year is 2.62 percent compared to last year’s 5.97 percent.

Director Bernadas attributed the spike of cases, which include critical and severe cases, to the increase in transmissibility, targeting vulnerable sectors of society like senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.

It appears that many continue to be lulled into complacency because the case breakdown has remained the same, despite the detection of a more transmissible variant of the disease in the country.

The DOH Covid-19 case bulletin on Thursday, Aug. 19, showed that 97.2 percent of all cases were either mild or asymptomatic. That means that even though Cebu has 13,605 actives cases as of Aug. 19, only around 400 can be considered moderate, severe or critical cases. And when you consider the entire island’s population of more than five million people, then you get an entirely different picture.

However, even if only half of the 400 cases need to be confined in Cebu’s many hospitals, the problem doesn’t lie with the availability of beds but with the lack of manpower to care for these patients.

In the meantime, authorities are doing everything in their power to slow down the rate of infection.

And yet, while the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu and eight towns and three component cities in Cebu Province are under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second most stringent quarantine level, many people continue to ignore minimum safety standards. They shrug off the dangers posed by Covid-19 until a loved one gets infected and succumbs to the virus.

It goes without saying that if the country wants to leave behind this “nightmare,” then the public must cooperate and do their part.

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