WHEN the first Covid-19 cases were discovered in Cebu City last year, we seriously considered temporarily relocating to Boljoon, a little over a hundred kilometers south of the city, to ride out the storm. It was safer there, we thought.
Our professional commitments, however, held us back. Two family members are medical doctors and they said it was wrong to run away at a time when their services were needed most. So we stayed.
It was just as well that we did. We found out that the coronavirus does not recognize territorial boundaries. There is no place beyond its reach. While the towns, especially the more distant ones from Cebu City, escaped the virus’ initial onslaught, they are now just as threatened as we are, if not more, because of their limited access to hospital care.
Take a look.
Last Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) Region 7 reported 72 additional Covid-19 deaths in Central Visayas. Sixty-one of them occurred in the province. In comparison, Cebu City had one, Lapu-Lapu three, Mandaue none, Bohol five, Negros Oriental two and Siquijor none.
The DOH report comes with a qualifier that not all the reported deaths happened in one day and that the numbers do not mean an “overnight spike in deaths” but are the result of “more accurate data collection and validating efforts.”
Granted. The DOH’s data, however also show, that during the past two months, deaths from the dreaded disease have consistently been higher in the province than elsewhere in the region. During the first eight days of this month alone, Cebu already tallied 231 deaths. That’s an average of 29 deaths daily.
In fact, Cebu accounts for nearly 45 percent of the 4,086 total Covid-19 deaths in the region as of September 8 with 1,823, which is higher by more than 600 of the tally of the previous record holder, Cebu City.
Again, it must be pointed that in interpreting the data, the size of a particular local government unit’s population should be factored in. With its three million inhabitants, Cebu dwarfs all the other Central Visayas local government units.
Nobody has downplayed or tried to downplay the extent of the threat of the pandemic to the three million Cebuanos who are living in the towns and component cities. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has recommended that the province be placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions which Malacañang approved. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order defining her approach towards the pandemic.
It does not matter who’s directing the efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 in the province. With the crisis staring us in the face, it is a mortal sin to quibble over turf. The important thing is we follow the science. Vaccines are now available. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should endeavor to see to it that those find their way to people’s arms. Anything less is a disservice to the public.