Barely on the second month since the first new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in the country was diagnosed, the health care system is already nearing exhaustion.
I dread to imagine the scenario should our health care system collapse, like what’s happening now in other countries being ferociously ravaged by this minuscule virus.
The window is getting narrower, and I hope the government realizes its severity. A whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach is urgently needed to beat the clock and prevent the ticking bomb from exploding.
It’s like a body going into multi-organ failure and shock—the classical domino effect. With the collapse of health care, the economy would certainly take a blow, and with people going hungry, the peace and order situation deteriorates—and all systems of the government might crash, too.
In another two weeks, even a best-case scenario doesn’t look encouraging at all. COVID-19 cases will double in less than three days.
One government official stated that we’re not doing badly in the fight against COVID-19 because the numbers are relatively low compared to other countries.
The number of cases in the Philippines is severely under-
reported because of the lack of test kits and other ways to diagnose the disease.
Easily, there are at least five times whatever number is being reported, most likely much more. Most cases who have mild COVID-19, which comprises around 80 percent based on global statistics, recover on their own, without being diagnosed.
This is where the problem arises. If these people don’t voluntarily isolate themselves, they’re unwittingly spreading the virus, first to their family members, and to other people they get to be in contact with—at the supermarket or drugstore.
And the multiplication of cases is exponential, similar to a networking recruitment scheme—each infected person is likely to infect four to five people, who’ll infect four to five people each, and this is propagated down the line.
Starve and eradicate
The only way we can stop this is by preventing contact of people, so ultimately the virus dies. The coronavirus cannot live on its own. It needs a human living host to thrive and multiply. Depriving it of a host is the only way to starve it and eradicate it for good.
I’m not too confident that a one-month lockdown is sufficient to adequately control the spread of the virus. It may have to be extended—a bitter pill that we have no choice but to swallow.
The consequences, if we don’t do it, are much more bitter, though. It’s now happening in Italy and Spain, with more advanced health care than ours. COVID-19 patients are being treated in the streets and hospital parking lots.
The elderly have very little chance to survive. Because of the lack of respirators to assist those who are severely short of breath, doctors have to choose who would be given the benefit of respirator support. And usually, younger patients are prioritized, while the elderly are left to die.
I don’t know how true, but doctors and nurses are reportedly sometimes instructed to take away the respirators from senior patients who are barely in their 60s so the breathing machines could be given to younger patients.
One video online shows a senior doctor crying because some elderly patients are being sedated lethally to hasten their death, so the respirators could be transferred to younger patients who need them.
This is the nightmare that we don’t want to happen in our country. And the only way we could prevent it from happening is by staying home, practicing social distancing even among family members, and by praying fervently to God for His mercy and healing.
Lest we still have illusions about it, this plague is already beyond any leader or physician or scientist to solve. We have to humble ourselves and acknowledge that only God can heal the world and liberate humanity from the captivity imposed by this virus. INQ