Editorial: Covid-19's 'victims'

·2 min read

More people may have actually died from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Philippines in 2020, based on the figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

In a report on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the agency said the pandemic claimed almost 28,000 lives, more than double the official death toll by the Department of Health (DOH), which based its numbers on confirmed deaths records in its surveillance system.

The PSA, on the other hand, listed both confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths “based on the descriptions provided in the medical certificate portion of the death certificate.”

Either way, Covid-19, which has plunged the country and most of the world into recession due to shutdown measures to try and contain it, was only the seventh leading cause of death in the Philippines after heart disease, neoplasms/cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, pneumonia and hypertensive disease, according to the PSA.

This might explain why the public has become lax in its compliance of health protocols and why life seems to be slowly returning to normal amid the ongoing health crisis.

It has been one year since the pandemic arrived on our shores. Thousands are unemployed. Many businesses have been forced to shut down. These people have to put food on their table and keep a roof over their family’s head. They can’t do that within the confines of their home or if they continue to live in fear of the coronavirus.

There’s no denying that the number of Covid cases continues to be high if compared to the case count toward the end of last year. Apparently, whatever strain of the virus is going around transmits more easily.

“Before only one or two people in one household get the virus. Now, everyone gets hit,” said August Lizer Malate, head of Mandaue City’s Emergency Operations Center.

In Cebu City, the DOH 7 logged 120 new cases on Thursday, March 18, bringing the total number of active cases to 2,582.

DOH 7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche earlier said majority of the patients are either asymptomatic or display mild symptoms. A total of 2,352 of them are confined in Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities.

Since the start of the pandemic, authorities have been obsessed with numbers, using them to justify the imposition of draconian measures. Since not much was known about the disease in the beginning, there was a general air of fear and uncertainty. But that has changed in the past few months.

The government, though, cannot be blamed for doing what it thought was best for the people, but it needs to rethink its strategy in dealing with the Covid situation, especially with the latest revelation from the PSA.