Wenceslao: Not surprising

Bong O. Wenceslao
·3 min read

THE rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in many places (not just the city) should not surprise anybody. Even the blame game now being played by politicians is not surprising, too, because they are looking for issues to pounce on considering that the next elections would already be next year.

This development actually shows us two things: one, that the coronavirus is still in circulation, which brings us to the second point: that returning to what the Tagalogs call as “dating gawi” is still not the way to go now that mass vaccination is still to be rolled out by the government and the other concerned sectors.

I hate to admit this but it seems like lockdowns, or setups a bit lenient but almost akin to this are the only ones fit for our situation for now--until all of us are immunized. The level of activities under the “past normal” favors the virus spread. A controlled setup is better. How to do it without destroying the economy is the problem. That is why I hate the blame game because it muddles people’s appreciation of the situation.

Incumbents, for example, should not be blamed if they loosened a bit during the holidays. The logic was not necessarily wrong. With the number of infections going down, it was time to loosen up also. Consider that the next phase of an experimentation process. With the rise in the number of infections, the idea of going back to what worked has become an option.

That’s what leadership is about. You balance interests and weigh options. That is why we have this saying for leaders: damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Not everyone can be happy with balancing acts. Those affected in a negative sense will always complain. The worst sectors are those who complain because they are being guided not by the general welfare but by selfish motives. Like politicians.

The lockdowns affected all of us. Our savings dwindled because we were largely immobilized, surviving only on what we earned during the past better days. We need to replenish what we lost. Thus talks of another lockdown period are sad. But that is far better for us than us completely losing our lives.

Our situation is different from those in rich countries where lockdowns are considered to be the last option. This is because their health care is far more advanced than ours and they have the resources to meet the needs. The fear of being overwhelmed is guiding our response to the pandemic. And that is not necessarily bad.

I can see people who are now acting like the coronavirus is no longer in our midst, which is sad because the truth is that the virus is still very much around. We need protection that the vaccines can effectively provide. Without that protection, we need to do some evasive moves, like maintaining physical distance, wearing face masks and regularly washing our hands. That the number of infections has gone up suggests that those evasive moves are inadequate. This seems to have become a race between immunization and a stricter implementation of health protocols.