Wenceslao: New Strain

·3 min read

Just when we thought we had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel with regards to solving the Covid-19 pandemic that wrought havoc worldwide this year, reports of a new strain of the virus have dampened our enthusiasm for the coming year. Visions of another round of lockdowns to prevent the new virus variant from spreading are conjuring worries especially now that we should already have been on our way to recovery.

Those lockdowns were what made 2020 bad for many of us. For me, my retirement savings dwindled and I am looking forward to next year to have it replenished. But new worries could be paralyzing again. And paralysis was mainly what made looking for sources of income difficult.

It would be wrong, though, to worry too much considering that information about the new coronavirus is still minimal for now. The concern is on how the expensive vaccines that are being rolled out worldwide would still be effective against the new virus strain. On this point, scientists should be forthright because the profit motive could overwhelm them. Imagine how much money giant pharmaceutical firms could lose if it will be proven that those vaccines won’t be effective against the new virus strain. All eyes will now be on the World Health Organization and competent governments, notably from economically advanced nations.

What we know for sure thus far is that the new strain is potentially 70 percent more contagious than the old strain. Which only means that the implementation of protocols that were effective in the past should be stricter. Because if the new virus variant can be transmitted easily, then everybody should be doubly careful now. If not, a new spike in infections could happen.

Fortunately, we already could mine lessons from our recent bout with the old coronavirus strain. We just have to prepare to bite the bullet again, sort of. If we will have to call in the troops again to force the enforcement of the protocols, we just might have to do it. And do not underestimate the power of prayers.

President Rodrigo Duterte did the right thing when he designated medical experts to take the lead in the effort to minimize the effect of the new virus strain on the country’s communities. We really need those experts to ease our worries considering the tendency for social media to favor the noisy but ignorant sector of the populace. They are even now starting to dominate the discussion on mass inoculation. Mass inoculation is important if we want to win the battle against the pandemic.

There is now a steady stream of anti-vaccination literature on Facebook. This will, in the long run, affect peoples’ enthusiasm to have themselves vaccinated. That enthusiasm was already dented after that politically-motivated demonization of Dengvaxia mainly by the noisy but ignorant segment of the population.

Again, there is as yet no proof that the new strain of the coronavirus could render those expensive vaccines ineffective. Which should remind us that not all literature we are reading on social media is truthful.