During the last few days, we have seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, particularly in Metro Manila, and this has alarmed our health officials.
Are we witnessing a second wave of the deadly virus or just a surge?
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Manila has said that the increase in the daily infections could not be considered a second wave since the country has not shown a flattening of the curve or a slowdown in the first wave.
Whether it’s a second wave or just a spike is not important to ordinary Filipinos. The fact that there was a big jump in infections, averaging some 3,000 in some days, is worrisome enough. Although at the height of the pandemic in March last year, we averaged more than 6,000 daily infections.
The OCTA research group has warned that even if the mortality rate is low compared to those of March last year it could still overwhelm our health care system. It said that if the current trend continues, the daily cases in the metropolis could hit 4,000 to 5,000 by the end of March.
It is, therefore, imperative for the government to speed up the vaccination rollout to stem the tide of new infections. All we have now are the 1.1 million doses of donated Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. At two doses for each vaccine, our present supply could vaccinate only a little more than 500,000.
These donated vaccines have not even dented the high demand to inoculate our health workers in the metropolis and only a trickle has reached health workers in the provinces. Thus, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez should double his efforts to work for the arrival of the purchased vaccines using all available diplomatic channels.
The government should not also resort to the knee-jerk reaction of imposing lockdowns in huge areas that have resulted not in curbing the spread of the virus but in wreaking havoc to the economy and adding misery to our people who have lost their jobs and means of livelihood.
Our government bureaucrats should be creative enough to balance the need to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our people and keep the economy moving. This can be done and this should be done.