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When will it ever end?

 "Will the vaccines be the final solution?"                                               

Despite breakthroughs in clinical trials, with so many countries furiously racing to develop a vaccine, it seems like the end is not yet really within sight.

World Health Organization director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, warns us that “there is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.”

That statement will surely get the goat of the American president, who has cut off previously committed financial assistance to the beleaguered United Nations’ health ministry.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US epidemiology expert is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine could be developed by the end of this year, but warns about the rushed and probably unreliable vaccine manufactures of China and Russia.  

We can take that with a grain of salt considering the strained relations between America and China, but then again, Dr. Fauci is not a politician and has mildly rebuked many of the inanities spewed by his president’s mouth in the recent past.

But then again, as we mentioned in Monday’s previous article, another problem, other than faith in the country origin or provenance of the vaccine, will be how to successfully line up against the competition to get early crack at the vaccines, as rich countries including the US of A have already advanced research funds to various pharmaceutical companies in order to get first priority.

Still and all, will the vaccines be the final solution?

Epidemiologists and virologists cannot give a straight answer.  COVID-19 is an exceptionally virulent type of malaise.

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We are now back on MECQ, after proclaiming a GCQ which greatly normalized human, particularly economic activity.  But then we suffered a relapse.  Whether it was because of the “pasaway” or whether it is because of the inability of health authorities to cope up with the pandemic in our shores because of its original sin of not acting quickly enough is of little moment to a desperate people.

Then again, an outstanding performer in Asia, Vietnam, which has gone through many months without a single COVID-19 caused death and no domestic transmissions, suddenly announced a relapse, after a 57-year old man from the resort city of Da Nang tested positive, and contagion was discovered in a few  days in the capital Hanoi, as well as Ho Chi Minh down south.  From zero mortality, there have now been six recorded deaths.  The dean of public health of Quang Trung University said that “in my opinion, this outbreak is more dangerous than the previous one because it is happening at the same time in many places” (in the country).

Over the immediate week, Vietnam evacuated 80,000 people from Da Nang for proper disinfection with contact tracing done in earnest.

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 Here in Taiwan, immediate past Vice President Chen Chien-jen, himself a renowned epidemiologist, warned of major challenges the country would face if a second wave of the pandemic takes place domestically, given the country’s low herd immunity.  Taiwan has been a model at controlling the spread of the virus, doing quick and effective preventive measures, thus having little (475) cases, mostly imported.  Hence, the low herd immunity.

The highly respected Chen urged the public to never let its guard down and prepare in case of a sudden upsurge in domestic infections, which as of this writing, is traceable to just one: a Belgian man who has not left Taiwan in two months.

“We need to buy as much time as possible before a vaccine is developed”, Dr. Chen stated, stressing that every household must store sufficient face masks and keep up their hygiene habits, such as washing hands and taking temperatures regularly.

But Chen has faith in the decisions made by the government and its health ministry, and so are the residents of this island, foreigners included.  Wish that Filipinos back home can have similar faith in our health department and its instrumentalities.

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 As I write this piece, I am listening to the Senate investigation on the non-feasance, malfeasance and misfeasance that is getting all too apparent as the layer upon layer of possible graft and sheer incompetence pervasive in our health insurance system are peeled by the senators.

Coupled with the recent cri de Coeur of our exhausted and dispirited health workers which mercifully the Palace took cognizance of, Filipinos at home and abroad worry --- when, if ever, will this crisis end?

Given the stress we all suffer, and the depression over the immediate future, news about our health officials give us little confidence that the light at the end of the tunnel will soon appear.

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Still, there are some moments of relief.

Our good friend, Gov. Jonvic Remulla announced that the province of Cavite will soon be able to conduct around 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day with their upcoming laboratory, financed by the local government, at the De La Salle University in Dasmarinas. 

Aside from augmenting Cavite’s testing capacity, Jonvic will launch an educational plan to help his constituents shift to blended learning at a time when the “normal” school system is impacted by fear of contagion.

The young governor in a recent Zoom interview rightly stated that there “are no borders on the pandemic”, and said that Cavite will help even non-residents.  

“It does not have to be a choice between rising cases, lockdowns and the economy.  What is needed are nationally coordinated efforts and the provision of necessary support to the LGU’s”, Remulla said.

Well said.  And so far, well served for Cavitenos, many of whom travel to and from the national capital region each day.

It somehow lifts the spirit in these troubled times.

Topics: COVID-19 , Coronavirus , WHO , MECQ , Taiwan , Cavite , Senate
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