The US reopening is a gamble that probably won’t pay off — not with the Indian variant becoming the dominant one soon enough. For one, it’s been confirmed that the virus is airborne. Second vaccines don’t prevent infection but mitigate a severe case of infection leading to hospitalization or death.
Business Insider reports on “The Perils Of Covid Complacency”…
The lockdowns unfolding in Asia and Australia should be a warning to us all that we cannot be complacent in the face of these new variants. It will take a single infection to spark a renewed outbreak across our country, one that could lead us back into the lockdowns of 2020 that we are already struggling to recover from.
In the Philippines, the first wave was avoided by the lockdown but the second wave happened due to complacency. Cases are now averaging at 6,000 per day. There is still no unified contact-tracing system and establishments have been allowed to reopen at 30% capacity for dine-in which is high-risk considering the presence of more contagious variants.
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The debate about public health versus the economy rages but, either way, there is no win-win scenario forthcoming. What government and business should do is adapt to the reality that the old normal isn’t coming back anytime soon. Digitization is the key for the economy to recover from lockdowns. Manufacturing has to be reconfigured for the new environment. The mantra should be test, trace and treat.
The National Capital Region (NCR) is most at risk because of its population density. It can be argued that vaccination priorities should be amended in order to take into account such factors to prevent another outbreak. Regional development should be prioritized and public spending should reflect this. This is actually the perfect time to begin changing the system which has kept the country from developing its full potential. The reality is vaccine supply is still short and we will not achieve herd immunity anytime soon. The term itself is a misnomer because there is no immunity.
Radical change always encounters resistance. Those who aren’t able to adjust like to think that the old normal will still return. No one actually knows because the science is still evolving with the pace being dictated by the new variants. Scientists are busy playing whack-a-mole with variants and outbreaks. LGUs should take the lead in coordination with the national government and the private sector at their level. Otherwise the future is bleak.
Other countries are dealing with their own outbreaks and the world’s richest countries appear to be fiddling while the rest of the world is ravaged by the virus. Whether they like it or not, the same motivation which drives them to go to war should be the same motivation that drives them to find a solution to the pandemic.
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