IT LOOKS like we have not done anything extraordinarily wrong to compromise the state of the public health since we returned to general community quarantine at the beginning of this month after a long spell of the enhanced version.
So far, we have managed to keep our Covid-19 numbers low, dispelling fears that the easing of restrictions on the movement of people would, as in the past, see a spike in coronavirus infections in the city. Give each hard-headed other a pat in the back then. We learned our lesson.
And maybe, a nod to our officials, too. They have earned it if only for their tolerance of the hysteria-driven rage when hospitals were overwhelmed with Covid patients. Mayor Edgar Labella and Opav head Michael Dino bore most of the brunt of the foul language that were staple on social media during that period. Listening to the critics, you wonder if the pair were the ones who brought the virus from China and spread it in the city and having done so, sat smugly on their chairs, enjoying every minute of suffering by the people.
Even Dino’s declaration that Cebu City was the most prepared of all LGUs for the pandemic was taken out of context and ridiculed as an empty boast. It was during the blessing of the Cebu City Quarantine Center that Dino made that statement, referring to the fact that the city already had three modern quarantine centers (including those at the IEC and the old Sacred Heart School for Boys campus) that could accommodate Covid patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
What happened, however, was that because of misconceptions, people who tested positive for the coronavirus even if they only had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic wanted to be hospitalized instead of isolated in the quarantine centers. Pretty soon, the hospitals had to turn back patients.
People quickly blamed Labella for the overcrowding, ignoring the fact that he does not operate the private hospitals and that the best that he could do was to appeal to the owners to allocate more rooms for Covid patients.
Labella was also blamed for the people’s refusal to wear mask and observe physical distancing even if these were things that we were supposed to do as a matter of public duty and not because we faced the threat of a fine or jail term. Besides, there was no ordinance that penalized a violation at that time. It was only recently that we had.
The critical hospitalization rate was what prompted President Duterte to send his generals to Cebu. The team, lead by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, brought Special Forces policemen and deployed them to the streets, along with armored personnel carriers. Those to me, were the major contributions of Cimatu’s team to the successful efforts to stop the virus from spreading further. The rest were already in place before he arrived.
The latest figures from the Department of Health indicate that the spread of the disease has been slowed down in Cebu. From being the epicenter we have become, to quote Atty. Cheking Seares, the poster LGU in the fight against Covid-19.
The fight is not done because the enemy is still around. Nevertheless, it is not too early to thank God, congratulate ourselves and, for a change, flash a thumbs up to our local leaders for making this happen.