Malilong: A different Valentine’s Day

Frank Malilong
·2 min read

In the past, you could no longer buy roses from the established flower shops today. You have to place your order two days ahead at the minimum. Otherwise, you will have to make do with the single stem, instead of a bouquet, at the Freedom Park or near the Redemptorist Church.

The streets would be crawling with cars starting at 6 p.m. today, also in the past, as lovers drive to their dinner dates. And on the somewhat seamy side, the motel rooms will be fully occupied.

But not this year, I think. This is going to be a Valentine’s Day like no other.

With cases of coronavirus infections continuing to be on the rise, not too many lovers will have the daring to go on outside dates and risk exposure to people who may be silent virus carriers. Neither will they risk going out to personally pick the roses for their loved one. Today, this year is not the time.

The situation is bad and we can only hope that the Department of Health is telling the truth or at least close to the truth when it says that everything is still under control. But when every passing day comes with news of friend or an acquaintance contracting the disease, you cannot help but fret. Wasn’t it only months ago, when we lost a few friends even before they could see the inside of a hospital room for the simple reason that none was available?

There are still enough beds to accommodate Covid-19 patients, we are told. Three weeks ago, a couple sought hospitalization after they tested positive for the virus. Two hospitals said they were full. The third one admitted them but only because they were lucky enough that two patients were scheduled to be discharged when they arrived.

The same thing happened to a relative the other night. His family contacted four hospitals. The three said they had no vacant rooms; only the fourth one had.

It is easy to figure out why. Every day during the last three weeks, the laboratories of the four biggest private hospitals in the city were reporting an average total of 40 positive results. Assuming that only 20 percent of that number seek hospitalization while the rest go to the government-designated isolation centers, that means eight new patients to be confined for at least 14 days. Given these circumstances, how long will it be before the hospitals are overwhelmed?

So you’re right to stay home today. Don’t endanger your life and that of your loved one by going out just because you want to show your love on Valentine’s Day. Remember the tagline in “The Love Story”? Love means never having to say you’re sorry.