A grim milestone

"This is not something that we can brag about."


Ten days ago, the country reached a grim milestone. We surpassed one million COVID-19 infections and now have 1,067,892 as of Tuesday. 

I remember about 14 months ago when we were reading about unnamed numbered patients but taking no steps to test and contact-trac like what our neighbors were doing. We were even shocked when we recorded the first COVD-19 death outside of China. 

Now, we are approaching 18,000 total deaths and this  doesn’t seem to shock anyone anymore. So far, we have been  able to fully vaccinate only about 287,000 while nearly 2 million have received their first shots. 

This is not something that we can brag about. If the government were not so fixated on centralizing everything and simply allowed private entities and local government units to import vaccines directly with minimum supervision, a lot more people could have already been vaccinated instead of the current miniscule number. 

Yet, some officials continue to say that we have done very well. On the contrary, the opposite is true. 

As for heroes, it is the suffering people and medical front liners who are the heroes.  What we have become good at is in the art of the spin to make our COVID-19 situation look better than what it really is. For instance, officials point to the active cases instead of the infections. What they cannot explain credibly is how all of a sudden, we have been having almost ten thousand daily recoveries. Some experts suspect that the figures are being fudged because the numbers don’t add up. 

The ever-changing vaccine protocol of the government’s favorite vaccine, Sinovac is a case in point. At first, the Department of Health said that the vaccine cannot be used by people older than 59 years. But because the vaccines that we were expecting could not be delivered due to many problems, Sinovac was suddenly authorized for people older than 60. 

Also, almost nothing is being said about side effects. The DOH has not told the public about those who developed blood clots and died after being inoculated. One reliable source informed me of the recent deaths of two health workers after being inoculated. The public never heard this in the news. The DOH has not also explained the cause of the deaths of two police personnel who died after receiving the vaccines which were supposed to prevent serious sickness or death after vaccination. 

From the very beginning of this pandemic, we were all promised that we will hear nothing but the truth from the government. What we are seeing however, are unreliable figures and lots of spins every time there is a bad development. It is the worst thing that the government can do in a pandemic. Yet, it seems that our government has chosen to go down that route which will only generate resentment and distrust among the people. The public has the right to be told if there are serious side effects of the vaccines being used and not swept under the rug. 

The President has just been vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm which is good. He is the President after all and should be protected due to age and health. But why is Sinopharm not available to the general public especially the seniors who also have multiple underlying medical conditions? It gives the impression that Sinopharm is only for a selected few while the public is stuck with Sinovac. Remember when we were all asked to be patient and try to stay alive and wait for the vaccines that will deliver us to the promised land? It looks like Sinovac, a vaccine with an efficacy of barely 50.6 per cent is that vaccine. Hallelujah! Had our officials kept their mouths shut and hustled to negotiate for better vaccines, people would have more vaccine brands to choose from instead of the Sinovac. 

Because of constant delays, the most likely time when we can achieve herd immunity would be late 2022. That’s several months behind other countries that are managing the pandemic better. The President has called his pal and benefactor President Xi Jing Ping of China to ask for vaccines and indeed, China donated and delivered a million doses. But would it hurt his pride if he will also call President Joe Biden of the United States to ask for help? If he can call the President of a country that covets our territory and has in fact already occupied a portion that belongs to us, why can’t he call an ally to ask for their unused vaccines? After all, that is what allies are for. Perhaps he can set aside his extreme dislike of the US for the sake of his people who need to be vaccinated as a way to get out of their misery.

Topics: Florencio Fianza , COVID-19 , Sinovac , Sinopharm vaccine , Department of Health , DOH
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