Dreaming of a maskless Christmas


Malacañang recently announced that the national government is confident that thanks to the ongoing Covid19 vaccination efforts, the country will be able to enjoy Christmas unencumbered by masks and shields.

An official stated that their goal of effectively containing Covid19 infections and subsequently preventing future surges will serve as an important stepping stone to the country’s economic revival.

The national government aims to achieve this by prioritizing inoculation within the National Capital Region (NCR) along with the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, as well as Metro Cebu and Davao, collectively known as the NCR Plus 8.

OCTA group research fellow, molecular biologist, and priest Nicanor Austriaco supported this strategy, saying that establishing herd immunity in the NCR Plus 8 would protect the entire country as NCR is always the epicenter of a Covid19 surge.

By vaccinating at least 250,000 people daily, Austriaco said that the 40% to 50% population jabbed target for containment would be attainable by October and eventually herd immunity at a minimum of 70% by November.

“…this is a realistic and attainable goal for all of us. So we have to imagine as a country a no-mask Christmas,” the scientists and clergyman, said.
Austriaco cited Israel as an example of this.

“You do not even have to have herd immunity. The average daily attack rate has to fall between one and 100,000. That is about 100 cases per day in the NCR. When that happens, we can begin to lift social distancing and masking arrangements,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Visayas and Mindanao regions have been clamoring for the national government to bolster their scarce vaccine supply as Covid19 cases in their areas have been on the rise.

On this matter, Austriaco said that vaccines are primarily used to prevent surges rather than halt ongoing ones.

“Vaccines are used to prevent a future surge. And the reason why is that vaccines take six weeks to two months to take effect. So if you are going through a current surge at the moment and you start vaccinating people, there will not be an effect on that surge for two months,” he explained.

As of June 23, a total of 49,862 Covid19 infections remain active in the country.

Photo:Providence College News

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