ACT like it’s already here, the mayor has said.
But even if it’s not here yet, how the Delta variant slowly penetrated Apayao is something to be alarmed at.
Apayao is the most remote province in this already remote region of ours.
And yet when the Philippine Genome Center verified that the Delta variant has infected a resident from Pudtol, cases in that province slowly increased.
Apayao is one of the least dense provinces in the country and Pudtol is one of its least populated towns.
By the time the result came two weeks later, Apayao had already more active cases than densely populated Baguio City.
And up to now, it has more cases than our city.
Now two more Apayao residents have been assayed by the PGC to be infected with the Delta variant.
Last Thursday, Apayao recorded 120 COVID cases, the highest since the pandemic started. How many among them had the Delta variant? We need two more weeks to know that and by then, who knows how many more cases would that have multiplied to?
So we cannot blame Mayor Magalong for announcing that the city would be hard hit if the variant indeed hits us.
Act like it’s here already.
One of his first pieces of advice is, wear double masks. To go with our face shields? How can we breathe, Mayor? But these are not enough.
If Apayao, with its fresh air and wide expanse of land, was still able to spread COVID among its residents, do you think the double masking would be enough?
In England, (where the first Delta variant cases were detected in February), it was said to be more transmissible by 43 to 90 percent than the earlier variants.
Already, it is being said that those infected with it are likely to be sicker, with their conditions deteriorating more quickly than the earlier cases of variants. They also tend to be brought to hospitals. More of the younger people are also at risk now.
But from this plethora of warnings, we are also given a ray of hope.
It seems that vaccination works. There are different studies, but if you follow all the studies, you will end up confused. But one chorus we are hearing from these studies is that vaccines – especially a completed two doses of COVID vaccine – will help a lot. There are fewer deaths and hospitalization among the vaccinated. Even the much-maligned Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines are much more important than not having the vaccine at all.
This is to, instead of reverting to wearing more masks and imposing lockdowns, get everyone vaccinated as the best remedy. Don’t wait for herd immunity. Get more people vaccinated.
Those vaccinated may still carry the variant and spread it so let’s not forget about masking either. But at least hospitalization and deaths will be lessened.
And yet again, forget about the city being a tourist city. That can wait. Let us restrict our borders and movements.
In this particular battle, the checkpoints are the people themselves. Let them get vaccinated as soon as possible. Don’t wait for cases to spike before you act. Act like it’s already here.