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Holiday fears

The Christmas holidays are still in full swing and with another ultra-long weekend coming up in this country where government gives away holidays like candy, we have been given another opportunity to maximize the potential of super spreader events all over the country.

To be fair to our government that has basically not done enough for its people during a full-blown pandemic, whatever happens during the holidays is, at this point, the responsibility and accountability of the Filipino people. This is because after 9++ months of quarantines, lockdowns, and all sorts of silly rules like motorcycle barriers and obligatory face shields on top of face masks; Filipinos, even if they are experiencing severe pandemic fatigue, should already know better by now.

Yes, it is tempting to gather with family and friends during this most wonderful time of the year. Yes, they are probably safe from Covid-19 after having been in self-imposed isolation for most of 2020. Yes, food doesn’t taste as good when it is not shared in the physical presence of other people. But, as the sheer incompetence of our government’s pandemic response has drilled into our brains over the past 9 months, all it takes is one infected visitor to spread this most infectious virus, especially during these holidays.

It’s been almost a year but testing and contact tracing is still spotty. The people in charge of procuring the millions of doses of vaccines we will need to protect our families and achieve herd immunity have dropped the proverbial ball. The statistics confirm that Covid-19 is still rampaging within our communities, still going strong after having infected hundreds of thousands and killing thousands. The virus does not go on holiday and that is why it is still up to us to do the job of protecting our immediate family members and loved ones by avoiding all sorts of gatherings, no matter how much we miss those activities and traditions, during what’s left of this holiday season.

We have already endured nine months of this miserable existence inside this long endless tunnel called the Philippine government pandemic response. We should be able to gird our loins and power through this misery during this most vulnerable time of the year because it is our best protection from Covid-19 and given the terribly low quality of our government, we all know that we cannot afford to absorb the impact of another surge or wave of infections just because we couldn’t resist the call of the party and/or reunion during that most wonderful time of the year that started peaking during the Simbang Gabi masses and is expected to last until the feast of the Three Kings.

Our government has been issuing the warnings and dispensing advice for nine months. It’s the one thing it’s good at because it is free and there are no logistical challenges requiring too much brain juice. We know that we should be wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and be obsessive with handwashing/sanitizing. Some of us disagree with other overkill measures designed to keep us busy and distracted such as face shields, checkpoints, curfews, temperature scans, and motorcycle barriers, but the resilient Filipino has been complying nonetheless.

It’s been nine months. We know what to do. We know what we should be doing. At this point, we shouldn’t need curfews and checkpoints and shouldn’t need to be policed or threatened with police-enforced sanctions anymore. I know it’s a pain to have the misfortune of having bumbling fools in charge but we should know better by now.

We should realize that a slightly better 2021 is basically up to how we police ourselves during these most tempting days. That’s what I thought before I saw the posts on social media these past few days.

Too many of us have been unable to resist the temptation to gather and let their guard down. Bubbles have been bursting and co-mingling when we should’ve done our best to maintain the integrity of the bubbles that we’ve kept intact for so long. All it takes is one infected person and these bubbles that we’ve been popping over the holidays will result in a Covid-19 surge that should finally overwhelm our healthcare system that was already inadequate even before the pandemic.

It is almost as if we have not learned our lesson over the past nine months. Government is essentially useless. The little that has been achieved in terms of testing, contact tracing, and vaccine procurement over the good part of a year has been woefully inadequate, especially compared to other countries where the leadership is composed of capable humans.

We are on our own so we have to get our acts together if we are going to survive this pandemic.Christmas (and New Year) gatherings are not helping.

Testing still sucks. Contact tracing is non-existent. The government dropped the ball as far as the vaccine is concerned. We are not out of the woods. This is not a time to celebrate but a time to be intensely fearful and careful. We all miss the holiday cheer but if we are not willing to sacrifice 2020, we might not make it to 2021. Our great leaders in government will survive because they get priority when it comes to spending our taxes but we definitely won’t.

Just like most of 2020, Christmas is already ruined. That sucks, it really does, but that’s what we get for allowing government to be run by unapologetic clowns. Partying like it’s 2012 may give us a few hours of joy but considering that Covid-19 is nowhere near controlled in this country, those few fun hours in a year of epic failures might not be worth it at all.

Happy New Year! I wish everybody well.*

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