Anyone you ask can tell you that this pandemic has gone on long enough. We should have the upper hand because of the technological and medical advancements we have compared to the past and yet we are at the same rate in dealing with the pandemic from decades ago.
So what factor has changed? Perhaps it is the current global population. In 1957, when the world had 2.9 billion people, the Asian Flu or Influenza A/H2N2 pandemic struck and went on for two years. Again in 1968, The Hong Kong Flu or Influenza A/H3N2 also went on for two years when the world’s population was 3.5 billion.
Our population now has more than doubled from 53 years ago at 7.9 billion. The first report of the COVID-19 virus was on Dec. 19, 2019 and we are nearing the 2-year mark, yet we are nowhere near the end of it.
We have gone through several levels of quarantines from ECQ, MECQ, GCQ to MGCQ, and yet our cases rise and fall and then rise again. Maybe there are shortcomings from our national and local governments, but perhaps we are also to blame for this predicament. Our relentless disobedience with the protocols set, or the lack of understanding or the conduct of inessential public gatherings will only prolong this pandemic.
Some people are not as alarmed as others with the rate of the positive cases in the country, and without that fear, they tend to disregard the risks at all. There are still people who seem to go out regularly for leisure, adding to the risk of transmission no matter how small that is.
Unnecessary risks like this will not slow down the progress causing more and more suffering and deaths in our country. Not everyone has the luxury of continuing their jobs or transitioning online during this pandemic.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons or AARP, the impact of the pandemic has been felt by service workers the most. Food servers, janitors and security guards are laid off due to restrictions of quarantine causing a lot of food establishments to close down. Those who work with public transportation have been affected as well.
People who rely on crowds to make sales like street vendors no longer have the means to earn for their daily sustenance. That means when they contract the virus, they will not only suffer from the sickness, but then they will be also burdened financially.
It is not only the health risk that affects the country but the risk to the economy as well. According to IHS Markit, the Philippine economy suffered a deep recession in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracting by 9.6 percent. This was the largest annual decline ever recorded since the National Accounts data series for the Philippines commenced in 1946.
Perhaps that is something to think about before getting dressed up to meet with friends if the probability of being infected with the virus doesn’t scare you. It is not fair that we get to unwind if blue collar workers and small time vendors are suffering.
It is not right to leave our homes, spend the money we earn from the jobs that continue to exist despite the pandemic, while others struggle to survive.