Nalzaro: Wuhan is back to normal

BobNalzaro
·4 min read

WHAT a big ironic twist and turnaround. While other countries, including the Philippines, are still fighting to control and contain the spread the coronavirus, Wuhan, China, the Chinese city believed to be “ground zero” of the pandemic that shocked the entire world, seems to have largely returned to normal.

Videos of people from Wuhan seen partying without masks and shields are posted on social media as if there is no more Covid-19 pandemic. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province with 11 million people, was placed on total lockdown sometime last January after a mysterious disease later called coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hit the place.

The city, which was described as a ghost city for several months after it was placed in a severe lockdown, is now back on its feet. The city’s economy has bounced back and people are already living a normal life. It’s really ironic that what was considered as the “Covid-19 ground zero” has raised hopes that it may now be able to help pull the rest of China to bring back its economy.

To recall, the first official confirmation for Covid-19 came on Dec. 31, 2019, where the World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office was informed about a cluster of 27 pneumonia cases of unknown origin detected in Wuhan. Investigation began and traced the outbreak to a seafood market were live bats, believed to be the source of the virus, were sold. Chinese authorities immediately closed the market on Jan. 1, 2020 as a method to terminate all meat trading and then started environmental assessment to confirm the association and to prevent further transmission. However, the virus spread throughout China and became a worldwide pandemic. The rest is history.

China provides hope for the rest of the world and reminds other countries that even the most severe situation can be turned around. Their responses to the Covid-19 epidemic and the high level of collective action in a modern city, Wuhan, are to be appraised and have stunned the whole world. Of course, China has the resources to support the needs of its constituents when their government ordered a severe and longest lockdown.

China adopted various strategies on Covid-19 responses, both scientific approaches through laboratory studies and practical through strict implementation of health protocols with the people’s support. When their communist government imposed something, the people follow or else... But here in our country, people are hardheaded and don’t follow simple rules and would always hide under the name of “freedom.” Filipinos will just ignore laws when the government imposes something. This is the reason why Covid-19 cases are on the rise. Our lives will never be back to normal while this disease still exists.

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Our policy makers on Covid-19 responses are singing a different tune. They are inconsistent. Just recently, Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque urged the public not just to wear masks, but also face shields whenever they are in an open space as additional protection. Roque’s pronouncement was the basis of some local chief executives to issue executive orders for their constituents on mandatory wearing of face shields.

But a Department of Health (DOH) official said wearing face shields on top of the face mask is not recommended for individuals with certain health condition. “We do not recommend the use of face shields if a person has a specific condition that could lead to breathing limitation,” said DOH undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, adding that the use of face shields is also not advisable if it will lead to visibility problems.

Vergeire said the “DOH also does not recommend it for some workers who may be put at risk. The reflection from the face shield may affect the eyesight. She added that wearing of mask and social distancing in public places are enough measures to avoid being infected. Several countries that have managed to have their outbreaks under control did not require the use of face shields. The virus is transmitted through droplets that can be inhaled from an infected person’s cough or sneeze or picked up with one touch.

Which is which? Are we going to wear face shields or not?