Nobody drops a bombshell like what the head of the Department of Health (DOH) 7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit did on Saturday, July 10, 2021, and expects no repercussions. After all, the Philippines is still in the grip of an ongoing health crisis.
So when Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal announced that Central Visayas was riding the third wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, that put people on edge.
The doctor probably got several phone calls from some worried local chief executives asking her to explain what she meant because they were afraid the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would get a whiff of the news and change Cebu’s community quarantine status.
I’m sure members of the public, especially those who insist on not getting vaccinated because they might die and turn into a zombie, also panicked and thought the end of the world was at hand.
Or maybe I’m just overthinking the situation. Either way I’m glad that Cañal came out the next day to issue clarifications and to allay the fears of the paranoid out there.
First of all, she said, there’s no need to be alarmed with her use of the word “wave” to describe the rise in Covid cases in the last four weeks.
“It’s not a wave in a sense that in one setting there are 1,000 cases recorded. It’s a wave because when you graph it, it has peaks. It has an upward trend. That’s how we describe increasing numbers,” the doctor explained.
It’s a pattern that happens every four months, she said.
That is, cases go up. And then they go down again. The cycle will repeat itself until the country achieves herd immunity against the disease, which, judging by the pace of the government’s vaccine rollout and the high percentage of vaccine hesitancy among those qualified to get the jab, will take a long time. A long, long time.
So there’s really no need to get into a hissy fit. I mean, people have adapted to the “new normal,” having learned to live with Covid-19 in the last 15 months.
To those who need additional assurance, here in Cebu City, where the majority of level 3 hospitals in the region are located, the critical care utilization rate is 37 percent, or well within the 60 percent “safe level.”
But that doesn’t mean the public should drop their guard. That’s why Cañal and Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera reminded everyone to cooperate with authorities and to continue adhering to health and safety measures.
It’s the only way this war can be won.