Is there COVID in space, too?

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While the whole world is stricken with fear of the raging pandemic brought by the coronavirus, the United Arab Emirates had gone on with its plans for space exploration to the planet Mars in behalf of the Arab world! Perhaps they are planning to move over there if they find it habitable? But surely there would be viruses waiting there, the air, if it is present, must pure and fresh. The cost must be astronomic, too, but then they could thumb their noses at the United States and China, and show the world who is who!

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Well, that is yet to happen and in the meantime, we all have to contend with this pandemic. I hear, though, that some countries, among them Russia, are nearing the discovery of an effective vaccine, but when will it be available? And it is expected that the costs of acquiring it will also be astronomic, something which even our President concedes we may not be able to afford! I wonder if any of our own scientists and medical people are also trying their luck at discovering one for our people? Or they, too, are also frozen in fear of what this plague can do to their loved ones and themselves, as we are?

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Finally, the requirements to wear masks has become obligatory in most parts of the country. But when will it be considered an offense not to be wearing one, especially when outside one’s home? In our city, Bacolod, and I believe, throughout the province, people seem to be cooperative, and in Bacolod, I understand one can be apprehended for venturing out in public without one. But some establishments seem to create their own rules, like for instance Watson’s at the SM where a male person haughtily insisted that we put on cloth masks under our face shields too. Other stories in the area were not so finicky. Anyway I can avoid going there again.

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Of course, like people all over the world, we, too, are concerned and worried about the havoc this coronavirus is wreaking on our population. But shouldn’t we be thankful that, on the average, we seem more fortunate than other countries and that could be due to the fact that we are more responsive to instructions intended for our safety and protection. In the United States, for instance, it was only the other day when it was noted that their president was already wearing a mask, or was that for show only?

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But it was good to hear that COVID-19 cases in Cebu, among the hardest hit by the disease nationwide, have been going down lately. For a while there must have been panic among the people over the increasing cases, but perhaps they have been praying to the Santo Niño, their miraculous protector, to help them and protect them. In the United States, places like Florida, Texas and Arizona are still battling with the disease. Who would ever think that in their big and wealthy country, response, as well as recovery from this malignancy could be so difficult to achieve?

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Unemployed Pinoys will feel very jealous upon hearing that the U.S. is again working on a budget to fund the unemployment benefits it had been giving to its people who have gone out of jobs that was some $600 a week. Now that the COVID is still raging, their Congress is working on authorizing a similar aid for them. I think they call it a “Virus relief package”. Have our lawmakers also thought about such assistance for our unemployed, especially those who had been well-employed and well-paid before? Can our country afford it?\

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Why are some people raising their eyebrows at the news that several high-profile personalities in detention at the Bilibid prison have died of the COVID-19? Oh, my suspicious mind imagines that if there are people wicked enough in that facility, they could claim the cremated remains as those of favored inmates and this could allow them to go! But that is only my rich imagination, we should not make jokes or imagine dirty tricks involving the dead, should we?

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Will they, or will they not? Allow the opening of classes, that is, face-to-face sessions where children go to school and meet their teachers and classmates in class? There seems to be many views about it, with suggestions for online classes, etc. Actually, have you noticed that we have virtually no published reports about little children being affected? Are they covered by some mysterious blessings? Anyway, we hope our educators get to arrive at the best move to take in this problem. I do agree with the Education Secretary’s view that there are some great advantages in face-to-face schooling because it gives the young people more inputs on social behavior and relationships. Let us all hope they arrive at the best approach to this problem as education is vital to their growth and development, too.*

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