WHEN Cebu City was finally placed under Modified General Community Quarantine on September 1 after nearly six months of toiling under the other and more restrictive quarantine regimes (GCQ, ECQ and MECQ), we heaved a sigh of relief. Business resumed in most industries and people enjoyed more freedom of movement except those who belonged in the vulnerable age brackets. In the minds of many, the worst of the pandemic was over in our little part of the world.
We were, however, warned that such was not the case, that unless we continued to observe the protocols that made the reduction in Covid-19 cases happen, there could be a second wave and it would be more massive and destructive.
I do not know if we took the warning seriously or if we relaxed after two months passed without witnessing the spike that was predicted to occur in the third week of October. Did we think false alarm?
If we did, there was reason for the (over)confidence. In the last seven days of September, Cebu City recorded only a total of 53 cases even as the province, which was relatively unscathed while Covid-19 ravaged the city in the months of June and July, saw a rise in coronavirus infections in the towns and component cities. (They logged 200 cases during the same period.)
In the third week of October, which was predicted to be when we would see a surge, Cebu City logged a total of only 45 cases with the Department of Health reporting only one day during that period when the number of cases hit double figures (10).
By the time October was over, Cebu City reported only 268 cases (although the DOH failed to release their tally for October 27). In comparison, the province logged 639 cases during the same period.
The trend continued this month until the 11th when we logged 28 cases. The number has not gone below 10 since then, rising to 59 last Saturday, the highest since we were on MGCQ. From only 35 cases in the first week of this month, the number more than quadrupled to 170 the following week. Are we now seeing the second wave?
It’s still early to tell but I hope not, that the higher incidence is just an aberration which is short-lived. Mayor Edgardo Labella is not taking chances, however, ordering stricter border controls and use of quarantine passes.
Businessmen need not fret, a city-wide lockdown is not in the horizon. Well, not yet and we could all prevent it from happening by observing the formula that earned us the distinction of being a model in the war on Covid-19, instead of being the epicenter of the disease.
Wear that darn mask, practice physical distancing and avoid a crowd.