Time to go ‘kamayan’?

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What is the understatement of the year? I almost fell from my seat when I heard it reported on TV that American President Donald Trump has issued the statement that “The pandemic is bad!” Bad? I suppose he couldn’t say that it is “badder” or “worser” than any plague that ever hit mankind? But maybe he had to say something quotable when his people are apparently not every happy at the way he is responding to this problem. At least his choice of words will keep them busy criticizing it for a while.

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In the meantime the world is having a race in who will come out first with the vaccine that could stop the coronavirus in its tracks. The contest has gotten so fierce that now we are hearing of some countries trying to hack, or steal the ideas of others. I suppose those scientists could not get together and pool their efforts in order to arrive at a hundred percent effective one that could save thousands, maybe even millions of lives? Competition is good, but this is one contest where it will not matter who wins, so long as lives will be saved.

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But as usual, the words of wisdom have come from the W.H.O., or World Health Organization, that has, for so long been on the look-out for the health of human beings everywhere. As quoted in the news, its statement was, “We don’t have to wait for a vaccine – we have to save lives now!” How true. A vaccine may prevent infections, but we also need to find a cure for those already infected, since the figures on casualties from this virus are truly frightening. But it has also been reported that in the United States, a survey taken showed that 33 percent of respondents say they will not submit to vaccination. Who wants to be a guinea pig, anyway?

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In the meantime, it looks as if everybody now believes that masks can truly protect us from this virus that has confounded mankind for several months now. Even the American president has conceded that, and was even seen wearing one at a certain occasion. But not all the time, it seems, though he has disclosed that he carries one with him always. For photo opportunities, maybe? I wonder if he is aware of the fact that cases in Tulsa, where he held his gathering, reportedly surged after it? And how is he helping those affected?

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But it is heartening to know that our President is now looking for funds in order to secure that vaccine, once it is perfected and available. On Monday, he will deliver his State of the Nation Address, or SONA, and will he have something to tell us about this pandemic that will raise our hopes? I hear, though, that only some 50 people will be in the hall when he speaks, and I don’t know if that includes the members of the House and the Senate. As for the public, the rules must be very strict, so we ordinary mortals can only hope-that it will be fully televised. I wonder, though, if the usual crowd of protestors will be allowed to do their thing again this time near the Batasang Pambansa building.

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At first I thought it was very good news for teachers that the Government Service Insurance System, or GSIS, is offering them loans for the opening of classes. I thought that would alleviate their economic problems, being themselves parents and homemakers, too. But no, the loan is supposed to be used for acquiring teaching aids, like computers, etc. because they are now going into online classes. If class opening is moved to September, do you suppose the climate then will be all right for face-to-face classes?

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There are so many new rules and methods being used now as supposed aids for us to avoid contracting this COVID thing that some of them are annoying, others wasteful. I read about restaurants owners who, to avoid reusing utensils like spoons and forks for their customers, that would take some trouble disinfecting, that they have to cart away sackfuls of the plastic stuff every night as they cannot bother washing and disinfecting them. Can they give them away to the customers who used them? Or place a sign at their doors to “Bring your own utensils, or go kamayan” (Use your hands)?*

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