Malilong: Quarantined

Frank Malilong

I HAVE not left the house since late Saturday morning. I have not even ventured out of our gate. I have been told to “stay at home.”

I’m not complaining. There are inconveniences, yes. I can no longer enjoy feeding the pigeons at the Cebu City Sports Center. I can’t go to the office or attend board meetings. I can’t even get a haircut anymore.

But there are also consequential benefits for which I am grateful. I have time to play with my spirited granddaughters and listen to their laughter. I do not have to worry about coming late to, or worse, missing meetings because I have forgotten them. And because we can no longer do our early morning routine at the oval, I am trying to learn how to dance. Seriously.

I would probably have stayed home even without being asked to. Mayor Edgar Labella’s executive order only made it easier for me to do so. Being quarantined, voluntarily or otherwise, is the least (or the most?) that we can contribute to the effort to contain the coronavirus. That’s also fair to those who go out to work so that we can be safe.

That group should include Alan Peter Cayetano and his colleagues. The congressmen did go to work while most of the nation were watching Netflix. A little appreciation, please. They deserve their tarpaulin.

Not that I don’t understand why people were/are upset. They were scandalized by the comparison of the congressmen’s work to those of the doctors and other frontliners in the battle with Covid-19. If it is not still obvious until now, lumping politicians with health professionals in one and the same list is regarded by most people as blasphemy.

You see, unlike the congressmen, the doctors and other health care workers risk their lives attending to the needs of the patients. At least four of them have already died while many others have gotten sick, which is not surprising since they had inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) while tending to their patients. And judging from the chatter in social media, this sorry state continues to exist. I have read appeals for donations and stories of doctors and nurses sewing their own masks and PPEs.

In Cebu City alone, there are 61 cases of severe acute respiratory infections (Sari) as of March 24, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH). All of the patients are in the hospital, but it is not known whether they are Covid-19 cases since their test results have apparently not been released yet. Cebu province has one, Lapu-Lapu City 3 and Mandaue City 5.

Will the numbers rise? Hopefully not. Let’s pray that none or at the worst only a very little percentage of the persons under monitoring will need hospitalization. The same DOH report says there are 3,503 PUMs in Cebu province, 254 in Cebu City, 379 in Lapu-Lapu City and 553 in Mandaue.

Let my hair grow shoulder length and my waistline bulge some more from the lack of exercise should my feet hurt from my clumsy attempt at dancing. The meetings can go ahead without me. I will stay at home until the doctors and other frontliners tell me that I can go out again because their work is already done.