BY JULLIE Y. DAZA
ON June 30 Tuesday, 11 COVID-19 deaths were reported and recorded. In the last five years, the number of deaths in the Philippines has been placed at 236 a day or 7,085 each month, based on a population of 109 million.
Putting those figures in context, a chart showing 650 coronavirus deaths after 54 days comes down to 12 a day, which “is very much like the rate of those dying of flu.” (In the US, as of June 30, a total of 128,819 died from the virus; more than 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose daily, 3,900 monthly, 46,800 yearly.)
Where are we today? The numbers are seen rising with Cebu, the city and the province, emerging as a hotspot. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the guy who swept out the Boracay cesspool, was appalled that “from 20, 30 cases” the virus has infected 5,000, with 30 out of 100 persons testing positive: “Too high!” The Visayas and Mindanao are also reporting more infections. However, Secretary Harry Roque declares triumphantly that we have just beat the UP prediction of “40,000 cases by June 30,” i.e., by a close shave of about 3,000. At the same time, it’s not comforting to hear that many of our neighbors in Asia have kept their fatalities rate low, like zero to triple digits.
How did Vietnam keep out the virus? How did Taiwan protect its borders and people? Our embassy in Hanoi and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei could cite examples of their anti-COVID-19 struggles over there and share them with us, no offense to our IATF. In Taipei, as shown on a short segment of a US entertainment show, anyone walking around the city without a mask is fined $33,000. In Metro Manila, quoting Prof. Guido David of the UP Institute of Mathematics, some 8,000 people who were not tapped or caught by a thermal scanner are casually walking around – “naglalakad lang sila” – without a care in the world. We have reached the stage of community transmissions, “nakakahawa” as pointed out by DoH Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire.
UP projects 27,000 infections in NCR by end-July, 70,000 nationwide. The virus is too pernicious, too tiny to be locked out.