Editorial: Surreptitiously spiking

·2 min read

FOR nearly a year now, Covid headlines, often sans sensational elements, seem consigned to passive reading. No small help from competing stories—from the year-ender rape-slay of a flight attendant to the US Capitol Hill siege, for instance. Covid news constantly faces the vulnerability of being edged out in the disruption game. In a top stories interface, Covid appears, well, “one-of-those.”

But not to people whose attention to the pandemic had not waned. The health crisis still looms and portentously enough with the Department of Health (DOH) bulletin’s silent scream of over a thousand new infections in two consecutive days. As of this writing, Jan. 7, 2021, there are 1,353 new Covid-19 cases, a 30 percent spike from the previous day. The country still has 23,675 cases, still a dragon figure that can spew wildfire across a populace.

The ugly twin of this tale surfaces in Hong Kong after its authorities identified a passenger from the Philippines who tested positive for the Covid-19 UK variant, studies on which show that the mutant is four times more transmissible, can infect the younger populace and may even be more fatal. The airline company responded by saying the passenger presented documents that showed negative swab results. But what is clear enough is that the traveller had set foot on Philippine soil, and that signals a serious concern.

Close to home and some weeks after the dawn mass pooling in December last year, on Jan. 6, 2021, Cebu City marked its ninth day of registering double-digit figures of new cases, easily breaking the record of low transmissions for two months.

On Jan. 5, 2021, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) reported 38 new cases spread in 21 barangays and a facility.

Six new cases came from Barangay Guadalupe, three in Tisa, two each in Basak, San Nicolas, Kasambagan, Kinasang-an, Lahug and Talamban. The rest are in Apas, Buhisan, Buot, Calamba, Capitol, Cogon Pardo, Inayawan, Kasambagan, Labangon, Pahina Central, Punta Princesa, Quiot, Sambag 1 and 2, and Sta. Cruz.

Cebu’s spike also has its ugly twin. Covid-19 hit four government doctors and two private medical practitioners in Cebu City. No cause for worry, said EOC deputy chief implementer Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera. This is not new, he said, and cases such as these have been promptly attended to and isolated in accredited hotels while they recover.

Still and all, the year begins with a felt effect of the holidays when it became slack season. The figures tell us so while we set loose the populace to animate the economy back to its pre-pandemic vibrancy. Another round of lockdowns is painful enough to imagine.