After more than 15 months into this pandemic, there still seems to be no light at the end of this long, dark and dreary tunnel called the Philippine Covid-19 response.
Despite testing is not being conducted rigorously, daily new cases are still in the thousands. Contact tracing remains a myth and a pipe dream, just like financial assistance and fiscal stimulus packages. Our nationwide vaccination program that started three months ago has managed to inoculate only five percent of the population, mostly using the least-trusted but more expensive vaccine brand. The mass vaccination effort that we are counting on to achieve herd immunity and restore what is now one of the worst economies in the planet remains hamstrung by serious supply problems and high levels of vaccine hesitancy.
Outbreaks are all over and the places that were shielded from Covid-19 in the past are now being overwhelmed by this wave. Bacolod City and Negros Island are no longer safe and should be locked down if we applied last year’s standards but with so much time and money lost because of a directionless response, that is no longer an option. We just have to be extra careful, grin and bear it.
The situation is actually worse now that it was the same time last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic was peaking for most of the world. But we still go to work, stores are still open, restrictions are the same old crap. The only time I saw any sense of panic was when I saw a checkpoint set up along the highway last week. They were stopping motorcycles, probably because the Covid-19 Delta variant prefers two-wheelers? Anyway that was a one-time show of force, just to make the public feel a little bit safer because our camouflaged and heavily armed cops are on the case against this invisible foe.
Our testing and contact tracing sucks. Vaccination is our only hope but at the rate it is going, it’s going to take a while. To make matters worse, the vaccine our government chose to give us is not exactly the most effective and while it was ok to say that the best vaccine is the one available a couple of months ago, the new Delta variant that Sinovac can’t seem to handle as well means that even the vaccinated will still have to be extra careful due to the lesser degree of protection and consider getting booster shots.
A vaccine that turns out to be weak against the new variants would be less of a problem if our government officials didn’t drop the ball when we had our chance to score a slam dunk but that is the way the cookie crumbles and we will have to deal with it. I myself got vaccinated with Sinovac because it was the one available at the time the opportunity to be vaccinated presented itself. I hardly felt any side effects and the important thing is that I am now still better protected from Covid-19 than any Ivermectin-popping-but-unvaccinated dude out there.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I’m going to complete my two Sinovac jabs as per schedule but at the same time, I’m already looking into the science behind booster shots because I want to increase my armor level from Covid-19 as much as I possibly can. Those who insist on waiting for their Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca or J&J first jabs can do so if that is their preference, but it is at their own risk. The Delta variant may defeat my Sinovac armor but it will definitely get those who still have zero armor because they would rather be naked while waiting for their preferred brand.
As I said, our government is doing a terrible job at containing his pandemic. Outbreaks are everywhere and the dreaded Delta variant is most likely already here. Lockdowns are no longer an option, testing is spotty, contact tracing is just a buzzword. Vaccination is our only hope and a nation of beggars who have no standards or expectations from their leaders cannot be choosers.
The situation is bad and won’t get better until we somehow achieve herd immunity. Stop being choosy and armor up. Get your vaccine shot now, or when the opportunity is presented. Do not choose anymore because when you go to battle every day, weak armor is still so much better than no armor, especially when the enemy is getting stronger.
We can still do something about the government that chose the weaker armor for us when the time comes but for now, we have to take the cards we are dealt. Those who go to war without armor despite it being provided and encounter death or serious harm can only blame themselves, not their government, no matter how incompetently led it may be.
Every day is war and our country is handing out the only armor it managed to procure. Protect yourself now with whatever is being given away and because this is going to be a long war. And when the upgrade or boost becomes available, just spring for the upgrade and increase your armor level. Just don’t be the idiot who goes to war in only a T-shirt, shorts and a useless face shield.*