Malilong: Bad time to be a senior

Frank Malilong

THE good news is that the mortality rate of the coronavirus is “only” two percent, far lower than that of Sars which was 10 percent. The bad news is that 80 percent of those who died so far were 60 years and older. It’s a bad time to be on the wrong side of 59.

Should we be worried? The government says that there is nothing to be scared about because they’re on top of the situation. I believe that they are, the initial missteps notwithstanding. But yes, we should still worry and I’m not referring only to the 80 percent. Better afraid than sorry.

Worry is what will drive us to be extra careful and be more obedient to the government’s instructions: wash your hands regularly, observe etiquette when coughing, wear a mask if you are sick and report to the authorities if you had reason to believe that you had contact with someone who probably had nCoV.

To that I would like to add, report to the police anyone spreading false information about the disease, whether with intent to cause panic or just for kicks. I admire what Talisay Mayor Samsam Gullas did in the case of the Talisay resident (who ironically was a City Hall employee who had gone Awol) who posted on Facebook fake news about people with nCoV being treated and some dying at the city hospital.

Samsam had his people locate the prankster and once located gave him a piece of his mind. The latter has since deleted his post and apologized but sorry is and should not be enough. I would admire the Talisay city mayor more if he pushes his announced plan to send the joker to jail if only to serve as an example to others who may be similarly inclined.

At the risk of being repetitive, let me say that these are worrying times. The discovery of a third nCoV case and the fact that all three confirmed nCoV victims in the country were in Cebu, albeit for a limited period, does not make it easier to calm our nerves.

If it’s any consolation to us, all three were Chinese nationals who came to the country only recently. The government ban on the entry of visitors from China and its administrative regions has effectively stopped the inflow of nCoV carriers. That should make the job of containing the spread of the virus throughout the country a little less complicated.

A much older friend once told me that when you’re afraid, try to look at the silver lining. It may be thin but it still is a silver lining.


It rained yesterday and traffic just went crazy. A friend who drove from Pit-os found herself stranded in the middle of a long line of vehicles yesterday morning and arrived at her office in the reclamation area almost three hours later.

Another friend who came from Mactan also went through the same harrowing experience although she arrived at the same office some twenty minutes earlier than the other. They whiled away the hours chatting through WhatsApp. I was expecting one of them to curse (I was looped in the same chat group) but none did. Such patience.

I’m sure not everyone who were in the same situation yesterday was as cool-headed. I cannot blame them. The experience of sitting inside your car behind a row of other vehicles that are not moving can be exasperating.

That our already bad traffic turns to horrendous when it rains is not a new thing. In fact, it is predictable. One of the reasons must be the absence of traffic men to enforce discipline on our notoriously undisciplined drivers. Why do the enforcers disappear when we need them most?

It will take some time before the monorail and other transport systems contained in the basket of solutions to our traffic woes can take shape. We will have to bear with maddening traffic for some time. Wouldn’t it be nice that when we do, we can at least see a traffic man trying, even if unsuccessfully, to restore order where we are?