Briones: Setting priorities

The main concern of the Cebu City Government should not be to bring down the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city, of which some 96 percent are considered mild or asymptomatic.

It should be to address the economic plight of thousands of families who have been left despondent in the wake of this 17-month-old pandemic.

Yes. The whole of Cebu and other major cities in the archipelago experienced a surge in cases last month.

Yes. The critical care occupancy rate in 15 hospitals in the city was 61.9 percent out of the 971 beds allocated for Covid-19 patients, as of Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, according to City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is slightly above the 60 percent “safe level.”

And yes. The EOC logged 39 Covid deaths within the first 12 days of this month.

But let’s look at the numbers again, shall we?

According to the Department of Health 7, on Sunday, Sept. 12, the City recorded 3,187 active cases. Of that number, less than 200 are either severe or critical unless.

Now, if you take into consideration that Cebu City has a population of nearly one million people, then it’s quite obvious where the City should place its priorities.

I’m sure the people who are currently living on the sidewalks—and trust me, I pass many of them during my daily walk—have stopped caring about the numbers. They would rather have a roof over their heads or three square meals a day or a job so they could provide for their families.

The fact that there was another surge in the first place, despite the authorities’ best efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, only shows that it was inevitable to begin with unless people get vaccinated or we achieve herd immunity.

But I know where Councilor Garganera is coming from. He only has the welfare of the public foremost in his mind.

I should know. Without him, I would have had a not-so-nice experience when I tested positive for Covid in September last year. And for that, I will always be grateful.

And I feel for Garganera and, let’s not forget, Acting Mayor Michael Rama. It would seem—and correct me if I’m wrong—they are the only city officials who continue to be vocal in the fight against Covid-19.

That’s why I am joining Garganera in urging everyone not to be complacent.

As for the rest, well, with elections several months away, they must have other pressing matters to attend to.