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How long, Lord God, how long?

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

What’s new? That used to be the question friends asked each other when they meet. Now, they ask the same questions, but the chances are that the answers will focus on the number of COVID cases, not only locally, but even worldwide. Seems this new virus that we got from Wuhan, China, has managed to find its way all over the world. It has even managed to grab the headlines from other important developments and has grabbed as well conversation topics all over the world.

***

As the prophets of old used to moan while praying in their temples, “How long, Lord God, how long?” Indeed, after all those fearsome months, and even the introduction of vaccines, the fears of people have not abated, because reports continue to deliver statistics about its victims. As far as I can remember, there used to be epidemics, but they were localized, unlike this Coronavirus-backed one that immediately spread to pandemic proportions. Even the vaccines already introduced, which are several, have not assured us of a 100 percent efficacy.

***   

But it is some consolation to hear that the Philippine peso is doing better than many other currencies, especially in Asia. Some of our patron saints  must be looking out for us, and even if our religious  people can no longer observe their usual practices, like hearing mass regularly, and observing other religious practices like fiestas and processions, we must be doing better than some other countries. For that we should include thanksgiving in our daily prayers.

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Never mind if the prices of fuel like gasoline are going up. Anyway, we are not supposed to go out as much, or as freely as we used to. The more we stay out of circulation, the safer we will be. One wonders, though, what the latest decisions have been made as far as the Education Department is involved. Will face-to-face classes be allowed in both public and private schools? Can such classes observe social distancing, both inside the classroom and out of it? I am afraid, that is something difficult to control, especially with those in the primary grades. Children will be children, and it will take a strong hand to keep them in line.

***

The latest reports, as of last night, is that there have been some 521,000 plus cases of COVID in our country. The news that the vaccine produced by Pfizer will reach our country by the third quarter of this month makes us hopeful, but also fearful that that might be too late. But, believe it or not, a great number of people, not only in our country, but worldwide, are still afraid of getting vaccinated. The suggestion that officials and the elderly must lead the way by volunteering to be the first recipients has great sense, but will it happen?

***   

But perhaps we are luckier in our country. Seems the colder ones are suffering more and in the United States, even California, which is not even among the coldest states there, has reported more than 400,000 dead recently. And don’t plan to go to Baguio these days because it is said to be colder than it had ever been in previous years. Let us hope and pray that such climate does not also prevail all over the country, because we surely are not prepared for it!

***

A disconcerting  piece of news that came out late last night on TV is that many students are dropping out of the ongoing online method of learning because not only do they find it difficult, but also expensive. Now what? How are our education officials going to deal with that? Also it was reported that the Philippines has just purchased three new helicopters. After that recent accident on a chopper that killed seven people? And the bad weather that has been hitting a lot of provinces lately?

***

But let us not allow such reports to add to our depression these days. While it is true that almost all the expected and most enjoyable festivals have been cancelled, we can still hope for solutions, like the vaccines for the COVID, and the new method of holding classes, the strong faith of our people, and the fact, that, compared to other places in the world, we are, I believe, more blessed and luckier, because as far as we know, statistics in our beloved country are not as devastating as we feared, and certainly not as seemingly hopeless as in others.*

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