Never in my imagination did it ever occur that I would experience a pandemic in my lifetime. The closest threat there was prior to COVID-19 was perhaps Sars and MersCov. But those were quite efficiently contained right were its epicenter was. This corona virus, however, went out of hand. In less than 3 months, our numbers of confirmed cases started to climb since it began in Wuhan, China. With social media rampantly spreading footage of the conditions of patients and the said lockdown in China, panic crept quite aggressively.
Weeks passed since the first case and there was (and to this date) still no clear information about its real source or beginnings. There is also no clear cure. Worse is, our Philippine government was also unprepared on test kits and laboratories nationwide. All these got me hyperventilating one day. I told myself to calm down but the news about lockdown in Manila and enhanced community quarantine got me alarmed. I live alone in Cebu and if anything happened to me, I am not sure who to call for aid. It became apparent to me how fallible I am. These days, my faith in God is definitely shaky, hence, my vulnerability to fear.
Nonetheless, I tried to play it cool. When everybody was panic buying, I told myself, let them be. Stay different.
First, the protective masks ran out -- I said, "Fine. A lot of people need it more -- let them have it. And for those who bought to hoard, shame on them." I was still denying my real emotions until came the news that bottles of alcohol disinfectants are becoming scarce too - in fact, already unavailable. And if they were, shops were selling them thrice the price. Now, I was disturbed. So I paid the pharmacies a visit to try my luck and there was certainly no more supplies left. The same was the situation in several more pharmacies too. I said, I'd be damned if I did not get one -- but there was none to find. Not even in shopping malls.
So, how dangerous is this disease really? Let's say, one could die if infected -- primarily those with existing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory issues, and hypertension. It impacts mostly elderly people whose immune system is weak. For the younger population and people with strong immune system, the virus can be transmitted too but they have greater chances of recovering. Normally an ailment is diagnosed following a number of symptoms but this virus was found to be asymptomatic in some occasions. The person is infected but not feeling any discomfort or showing any symptoms at all -- just a carrier of the virus but still capable to transmit the disease to others. On most occasions, however, the symptoms show but they are flu-like in nature: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc. Everyone is very familiar with them, therefore it is easily shrugged off by many as just the usual cough or fatigue. Yet, on times like now, it is highly recommended that people who show these signs must go to the doctor to be certain that it is not COVID-19.
It is uncertain as to when this plague will end. For now, let us do our part by staying at home and keeping ourselves healthy and clean. The following are the recommended practices (by CDC) to do to avoid infection:
1. Clean hands often
2. Avoid close contact (social distancing)
3. Stay at home (especially if you are sick)
4. Cover coughs and sneezes
5. Wear face mask (especially if sick)
6. Clean and disinfect
There are tons of information to learn about COVID-19 in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Furthermore, I pray that Psalm 91 will be every household's anthem in times like this. Be reminded that God is our refuge. He will rescue us from any pestilence or plague that threatens our existence. Only, be obedient to Him and to the rules of the land to be safe. May all our frontline workers be sustained and kept protected from the virus so that they can continue to do the essentials. This too, shall pass.