Tell it to SunStar: Virtue in selfishness

THE Black Death or Bubonic Plague (which also started in China by the way and spread along main shipping trade routes back then) did not cease because other countries kept their borders open.

It naturally died down on a colder climate which “helped kill off the fleas.” Basically it died a natural death of sort, but not before it caused skyrocketing death toll of 50-70 million people in a span of three to five years.

Do you seriously think the neighboring countries kept their borders open because they were moved with compassion? We were both not there, so let’s make intelligent guesses.

My guess is, it was mayhem. Everyone was running around scared and clueless, like headless chickens and a community response could not be imposed--nobody knew what to do.

One of the main reasons the bacteria caused such havoc was the lack of awareness on how it spread so that effective preventive measures could be taken.

Thankfully, we are now in the 21st century and we can rely better on science to give us guidance and the death toll (from the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease) does not have to be that devastating as the Bubonic plague’s.

We are well informed of the nature of transmission, which unfortunately has breached animal-to-human and instead gone on to a worrying human-to-human level.

All the cases that have been discovered outside China, save for that Japanese driver who was merely exposed to Wuhan tourists, were all from China.

Experts have given us the symptoms, the mode of transmission, and the fact that there is no cure but that we can only rely on our immune system to combat it. Now that we are given these data, it is up to us to use them sensibly.

As much as we want to be compassionate here, we can’t “heal the sick” in this instance. Again, there is no cure yet. Antibiotics is not the antidote.

Are we over-reacting? No. I am okay to be infected. I am at the prime of my life and quite confident about my resistance, but I am NOT okay with my 82-year-old mother becoming infected or my 10-year-old son becoming infected or my younger nieces and nephews.

Be pragmatic. Suffice it to say, the Philippines does not have the capacity for such an outbreak. We cannot even spare beds to most of our dying and destitute. Our own. Do you believe we can spare beds or wards for this virus that is still hard to crack at this point?

And “quarantine for as long as it takes...” Do we have an idea how much it will cost per person per day?

In Singapore, they are giving out $100 a day per person for those who impose self-quarantine (suspected but asymptomatic). It comes as an incentive as cordoning massive areas as quarantine zones is costly.

How about in Cebu? Asa man ta sa Upper Quiot? How about in Manila, in Davao, in QC, in Bohol? Have we thought of these intricacies instead of broad-stroke idealism?

Singapore and Hong Kong have vast experiences on Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). They have better understanding on these epidemics and they have contingency plans and the overall capacity to respond.

Even these countries are scared at this point. They have closed borders. Yep.

News flash: The Philippines does not even have the testing kits; it has to send tests to Melbourne. Yah.

And speaking of geopolitics... Russia is by far the strongest geopolitical ally of China. Guess what, and I’m sure you know by now, they’ve shut their borders already!

And to the what if we were the source of an uncurable plague, based on practical facts out there, it is fair to assume China will be one of those to close borders. It is highly protective of its nationals, and so should every country be.

We can’t romanticize the making of smartphones and clothing in China. That simply is digression of topic (and look up Causation Fallacy).

So if China didn’t manufacture those smartphones, we won’t have any of these today? And if they didn’t make most of our clothing, we would mostly be buck naked today?

It isn’t like China made it and gave it to us as gifts. We paid for every fragment of that gadget and every fabric of that dress down to import tax and VAT etc. And when you buy them, you are supporting their economy; it is not like they are doing you a favor. No.

Won’t you actually like it if the Philippines manufactured those and bolstered our economy, which could mean most of us won’t leave our shores for a better life abroad?

I won’t even start with the cuisine thing; that is too far away from the point. This is not a blanket disgust for anything Chinese. This is a fight against an outbreak.

We can’t help if we are also afflicted.

In this instance, there is virtue in selfishness which results in self-preservation. We can’t stand over pulpits talking about grand acts of tolerance and kindness, projecting our values.

Check the stats in your locality. How many hospital beds are freed up for this in case it becomes nationwide? Call CCMC. Call Vicente Sotto. Then let’s talk. (By Arianne Perez, Singapore)