The second wave

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Countries in Europe and in North America are gearing up as the “second wave” of the pandemic are already at their doorsteps.

France reported 13,215 new cases in 24 hours last Friday. Other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain are also reporting new cases in the thousands. Spain recorded over 12,000 cases in one day last week too.

What about us? Our daily cases are also in the thousands, averaging 3,500 cases per day. We stand at 287,000 cases and 5,000 deaths but knowing how the Department of Health reports the figures, it may be higher given their record of listing deaths as recovered cases.

If Health Sec. Francisco Duque is to be believed, we are way past the second wave which he first declared in March. If we follow that logic, we are in first place, way ahead of China where the pandemic first started.

What is worrisome in Europe is the evidence suggesting it’s the younger people who are driving the surge in the second wave right after summer vacation and school opening.

August is usually the time when Europeans go for a vacation. Italy for example celebrates Ferragosto in mid-August and this is usually preceded or followed by a 2-week summer vacation for all workers. Italy which is among the countries in Europe badly hit by the first wave of the coronavirus, is now surging, recording nearly 2,000 cases a day this month.

Canada too is feeling the surge and recent survey showed that 75 percent of their citizens favor a shutdown if the second wave hits them.

It’s a different story in England which recently breached 4,000 cases per day. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not amenable to a national lockdown. Johnson who is a COVID-19 survivor would rather implement their new three-tier measure which includes strict social distancing, curfew and ban on gatherings between households and the last would be lockdown measures by areas.

It’s funny but that’s what we are doing already yet it seems we are going nowhere – unless of course we are not strictly enforcing and following the said measures. In fact, worldwide, our country is known for implementing the longest lockdown yet we are not seeing any flattening of the curve.

At this point, it is scary to think what our own second wave will look like. However, it may not be as bad as what is happening in Europe because the national government already decided to do away with face-to-face classroom setting unlike in Europe where schools have reopened.

Despite the new surge though, Europe still fares better than the United States and we have yet to see the second wave hitting US soil. Europe has reported 4.4 million cases and almost 218,000 deaths among a total population of 750 million. The US meanwhile has 6.7 million cases and almost 200,000 deaths in a population of 330 million.

Medical experts are saying, though, that while cases may spike, and perhaps will even be higher than the first wave, they now have medical protocols on how to treat patients with severe symptoms, thus they may likely have less deaths when the second wave hits them.
It helps too that they are already isolating the elderly and those with comorbidities who are more vulnerable to the virus and recently, the cases they are coming from the younger set of people. However, records also show that the mortality rate in young people are much lower than in the older age group.

Remdesivir, which is also being used here to treat COVID-19 patients, is among the preferred medicine along with Dexamethasone, a steroid treatment to cure lung inflammation. Of course the price of these medicines are prohibitive with Remdesivir priced currently at P10,000 per vial and in most cases, a ‘severe’ patient may require ten vials or so.

In the US, public health experts are also using new tactics to help patients survive such as flipping a patient on their stomach to allow more oxygen to run through the body. Doctors have also been holding off placing patients on ventilators and using less invasive methods to assist in the breathing.

Since the MECQ was declared here, I’ve been out just twice and have gotten used to ordering groceries, even vegetables and fruits online because there are just too many people I know who have been hit by the virus.

Recently, Negros Press Club President, Glazyl Masculino reported that she is positive, her results arriving nine days after getting swabbed. Fortunately, Glazyl stayed home right after the test and was recently transferred to a quarantine facility. She is fortunate too that she was able to get a room at Go Hotel which has been turned into a paying facility and the newspaper outfit she works for, will pay for her stay.

I mentioned Go Hotel previously as the first establishment the city secured to serve positive patients willing to pay for their quarantine. Go Hotel charges P1,250 per day for room alone and P1,700 for full board and lodging.
After reading the updates in other countries, my only prayer now is that I hope a vaccine will be available by the time the second wave hits us. Otherwise, I don’t know how we will survive it.*

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