Malilong: Surge

·3 min read

Three weeks ago, a friend who works in a private hospital told me that they had reopened their Covid-19 ward that had been inactive for months. We’re seeing another surge, she warned, and it could be worse than the one we experienced last year unless we ramped up our vaccination drive.

We both smiled wanly when she said that. She knew as well as I did that immunizing even 50 percent of the population in Cebu within the year was almost impossible to achieve, given the woeful record of the government in the allocation of the vaccines. Unless a miracle happens and vaccines fall from the skies like manna from heaven, we’re doomed to the on-and-off vaccination that had been our lot since the “rollout” in March.

The surge that she had warned against is here, but I hope that she was wrong in her prediction that we could be seeing the worst ever yet, despite indications that she might be right.

Yesterday, another friend forwarded an article that he found printed in a church bulletin. The author was not indicated, but judging from its content, it could have come only from a person of authority or at least of influence.

The bulletin painted a rather gloomy picture of the Covid-19 situation in Cebu. Not that we needed any reminder from anyone. Those who follow the daily updates published by the Department of Health 7 have a more than sufficient understanding of what is happening.

Still, the bulletin’s revelation of the extent of the utilization of hospital facilities is disturbing. The capacity utilization rate (CUR) and regular Covid bed CUR of private hospitals have reached 48.9 percent, and 51.3 percent, respectively, although the ICU utilization rate has dropped to 29.2 percent as of July 16, it said.

For the past two weeks, private hospitals in Cebu have seen an increase of 85 new Covid-19 admissions per week, a trend that, if unabated, could put these hospitals at risk of breaching the 60 percent warning level in the next seven to 10 days, it disclosed.

“We therefore enjoin all our Cebu Private Hospitals to prepare and to brace themselves for what may be a most tenuous and pressure-filled week ahead. We also strongly urge all Cebuanos to strictly observe the recommended health measures, with all of us doing our part to help ourselves and one another stay safe and healthy at all times.”

The appeal for cooperation is well taken, but what about the government? What can we expect from them? Will they be again sending armed soldiers and military hardware to scare us into hiding in our homes? Or will they finally see the urgency in securing the vaccines—the promised silver bullet against the coronavirus—so that we can finally see a semblance of seamlessness in our vaccination drive?

We cannot continue to cite the scarcity of the supply in the international market as an excuse. Why were a group of businessmen able to purchase Moderna vaccines for their employees and families?

Just a little more push from the government is needed. The excuse that they have done their best but it was not enough is absolutely unacceptable. The surge is upon us. Do something. Please.

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