Briones: Fingers crossed

The term “what goes up must come down” certainly applies to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation here in Cebu.

No doubt August 2021 was a harrowing month for authorities as cases skyrocketed in record numbers. It didn’t help that the highly transmissible delta variant of Covid-19 was detected on our shores.

The cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu were again placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second most stringent quarantine level, while Cebu Province was placed under general community quarantine with enhanced restrictions to try and slow down transmission.

To people outside Cebu, they probably thought we were on our way to becoming the next India or Indonesia.

Images of cars lined up outside a private hospital in Cebu City began popping up on social media. People were on the floor with oxygen tanks by their side.

Even Dr. Ricardo Audan, chief of the state-run Southern Mindanao Medical Center in Davao City, was quick to conclude that Cebu’s health care system had been overwhelmed.

And in a way it was. For a time there many of the private hospitals in Metro Cebu were filled to capacity. But the problem was never the lack of hospital beds or equipment. Cebu has plenty of that. The problem was the lack of manpower.

I guess many of our nurses had fled to Davao City since Dr. Audan was so confident that they would be able to handle the situation much better than we did.

Anyway, while the number of cases grew, the rest of us went on with our lives. Because what else were we supposed to do? Some of us had to go out and work. Otherwise, there would be no food on the table or money to pay utilities and whatnot.

In a way, the recent surge was a blessing in disguise. Health experts around the world had dubbed it the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” which prompted many vaccine hesitants to register for inoculation.

Of course, registering is not the same as actually getting the jab. Apparently, some people have changed their minds after finding out that the brand of their choice is not available.

At any rate, I hope the worse is behind us. Figures released by the DOH 7 in the past few days seem to point to this.

No doubt Cebu has been lucky for narrowly escaping the fate of India and Indonesia. I think we can allow ourselves to breathe a sigh of relief and perhaps hum a Christmas tune or two.