There are many things that by themselves are undesirable in ordinary circumstances. During a pandemic, especially in the middle of a severe outbreak like that currently being experienced in Metro Manila, these undesirables become simply abominable.
They all have to deal with taking advantage of other people’s fear, ignorance, confusion, and any other vulnerability for their own gain.
For instance, with the recent dearth of over-the-counter medicines for the relief of flu-like symptoms, some ingenious individuals have been able to source these scarce items and sell them at steep premiums.
Home-based antigen kits, the more economical—albeit less accurate— alternative to the gold-standard RT-PCR method, or even antigen tests conducted in some clinics, have also seen a sharp increase in prices, if they are even available at all.
Some local governments offer free testing, but given the surge in demand these days, the time-sensitive tests cannot be conducted when they are most needed; the registration and scheduling alone takes days.
Desperate, those who can come up with the funds to get themselves tested at their own expense do so, but not without risk of procuring these items from unknown sellers who may or may not give them counterfeit goods.
Another form of exploiting these difficult times is the spreading of lies—about political adversaries, about supposed new mutations of the virus. This is a time when people are particularly susceptible to the things they read online just because they are in no condition to go to other sources to verify.
Manipulators of information and spreaders of fakery are perhaps too bored or too evil to inflict their malicious acts on an exhausted public.
Crises bring out the best and the worst in people. Let us not allow a momentary bout with illness to make us less resistant to and more permissive of these transgressions.