This was our first quarter takeaway. The detection of the Sars-CoV-2 variant P.3 or Theta in Central Visayas (CV) in March coincided with the spike in Covid-19 cases in the region. This claim was corroborated by Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea de Guzman who said there was clearly a connection. That’s about as empirical as empirical goes, variants cause upticks and the worst among them, a surge or new wave. It doesn’t help that the more notable variants of late, including the Delta version, showed high transmissibility rate.
The DOH case bulletin showed just how a third wave is buoying yet another possibility of a bad scenario if we let it be. In the last two weeks, from June 28 to July 11, Cebu Province found a case increase of 61 percent, almost 42 percent in Cebu City, around 46 percent in Mandaue City. Lapu-Lapu City logged the more dismal figure of 108 percent. DOH 7 data showed that Cebu City as of July 12, 2021, has a total of 1,133 active cases. The health agency was categorical, CV is on third wave.
The CV specimens are certainly under whole genome sequencing now, and anytime soon we’ll get update on whether some viral mutant is behind these infections. Although, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, on July 12, 2021, said that increase in infections can be caused by a number of reasons—mobility, porous border control, poor compliance of health protocols in public and work places. At this point, we can’t single out variants as the main culprit pending laboratory results.
But, yes, mobility and poor observance of health protocols. A cursory look around the metro shows just how slack a big sector of the public has been in observing the health protocols. The non-wearing of face shields has become pervasive, and a day trip to public spaces and even in inner cities shows the wearing of mask has been dispensable. Worse, the physical distancing rule has been arbitrarily followed—most times consigned to oblivion in bars and in public transport. And these are all so because we have the economy moving, we’re shaking up our centers back into productivity again. Movement becomes public preoccupation while safety takes a backseat.
And so we find ourselves back to the task of delicate balance while our cases are again logging double digits—although we’re more bent to roll the economy while we bear the pandemic reality.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center, assures our health care facilities are ready. The city needs to prepare while he compares the ever-shifting patterns in transmissions as a “roller-coaster ride.”
The city has 400 operational beds in three barangay isolation centers (BIC) in City Central School and in Barangays Mabolo and Zapatera. There are also 600 beds on standby in five other BICs just in case the count goes further up. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms will be brought to the Cebu City Quarantine Center at the North Reclamation Area. Meanwhile, we may need updates, too, on how the other affected cities and towns in Cebu are taking care of their own cases.
Time and again, we need to be reminded that this fight is not over yet. We’re far from the hackneyed phrase of “light at the end of the tunnel,” if that’s what we have been aiming for.