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Word of the Year

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

What is the word of the year? Could it be anything  other than COVID? Actually it has been on everyone’s mouth and thoughts, not because of its novelty, but because of its deadly connotation. Of course we all remember that it was based on the name of the virus, said to be shaped like a corona, that has sprung from the city called Wuhan in China, and  quickly spread throughout the world. Does anybody know a country that has been spared by COVID, the “nickname” given to the coronavirus caused disease?

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But lately there has been some encouraging reports, especially from hospitals that have claimed a reduction in their occupancy by COVID victims. But have we fully accounted for the number it has afflicted, and of those it has sent to their eternal rest? But hope is really springing from our hearts, because of the vaccines now being made available to all countries, and have shown some very encouraging results. Our prayers have been answered, and although we are not yet “over the hill” as the cliché goes, let us go on praying that it will be completely conquered.

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But there is a new twist in the application of the vaccines, like the AstraZeneca and Sinovac. Where before it was only allowed for adults, lately reports have come out saying that teenagers, from ages 17 to 18, may also be inoculated. But what about those younger, how do we protect them from infection? Has any medical expert concluded that they have “built-in” immunity? I hope those who decreed that exception know what they are doing, because children are supposed to be protected first, they are the so-called hope of the fatherland.

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Reports Wednesday said that two million doses of vaccines were arriving yesterday. But how many millions of Filipinos are waiting and worrying about their situation and those of their family members? And such doses are supposed to be administered twice, too. When can we acquire the type Russia has discovered that requires only a single dose? By the way, is it true that there is a plan to set up “drive through” vaccinations in Makati? How is it done? Does the driver just stick out his arm to be pierced, and his passengers as well? How innovative the people there are!

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But we should sympathize with the people of India. Only two percent of its population have reportedly been inoculated, and many people, especially old ones have been dying alone in their homes. There does not seem to be any government support or workers to look out for those with no families to take care of them. It is understandable if neighbors are not willing to help because of the risk of infection. But I think that cannot, or does not happen in the Philippines, where people would risk their own lives to take care of their elderly and loved ones.

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Twelve Filipinos who arrived on a boat from India – I was not able to verify if they were seamen – all tested  positive for the COVID the other day. I am sure they were quarantined or taken to hospitals immediately. Now that the virus is expected to be waning, we cannot afford to welcome carriers, to our homes, even if they happen to be relatives because the risk is too great.  Let us forget that “Charity begins at home” this time. Let us offer help that does not entail breaches of social distancing and mask wearing.

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Speaking of masks, it seems Manila has only lately remembered to improve the rule of mask wearing and this was after the President himself ordered it. At least, Bacolod City had made it mandatory immediately at the onset of the pandemic, and those flaunting the order and going around without the protective mask were arrested. Let us not be stubborn about this simple precaution. It does not even hurt, like an injection. Just keep remembering that it is not because you will be arrested in our city if caught maskless. And  remember that “The life you save may be your own”.

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Like a lot of other vain females, I am even very glad that we are obliged to cover our face with masks. It means no need to take time making up before going out, because your countenance will not be visible anyway, and you are spared from dust, smog, and emissions from vehicles as you go around. Some ladies even have pretty masks in various colors that matched their outfits. It has become a fashion statement, so let us obey the rules, protect our health, and avoid becoming a COVID statistic, too!*

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