The fast-approaching New Year whilst the country is struggling under the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic will be a source of hope and optimism for the coming year while at the same time present a final challenge for those of us who have managed to survive 2020 thus far.
Aside from the usual warnings to avoid the dangerous tradition of setting off firecrackers in order to prevent potential serious injuries, Filipinos also have to deal with the still-present threat of the highly infectious coronavirus.
In the coming days, the temptation to gather with extended family and friends will become irresistible once again for many. As responsible Filipinos, we will have to summon all the discipline we can muster to resist the urge to celebrate our holiday traditions in ways that involve large gatherings. Staying home during the New Year celebrations is probably not we had in mind at the start of 2020 but it is the one gift we can give ourselves and family members that has the potential to make 2021 a slightly better year for our families, and maybe even the entire country.
If gatherings cannot be avoided, let us do our best to keep it small and brief, while adhering to all health precautions such as the use of masks, physical distancing and obsessive handwashing and sanitizing. The year may be ending but not even a new calendar will stop the coronavirus from being as infectious as ever. Until the Philippine government delivers on its promise to make access to Covid-19 vaccines available, we still have to remain on high alert and avoid gatherings as much as possible.
The safety measures that we have been following since March will not expire with the New Year and if we do not discipline ourselves in the next few days of holidays, our chances of recovery from this crippling pandemic dim even further. Let us continue to sacrifice our social lives for the greater good and a better 2021 as the holidays of 2020 come to an end.*