We have to wait a few more days to know whether there indeed was an uptick in the number of new cases of COVID-19 as a result or the political gatherings during the campaign and the flocking to polling precincts on Election Day.
A week after elections, the OCTA Research Group said there appears to be no sustained increase in the number of new cases.
It is heartening to know that the Department of Health says all 14 patients found to have been infected by the Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant have now recovered.
Experts also say that there has been no reported local transmission of the variant even as the possibility continues to exist.
And, looking around, we may notice that if not for the near-ubiquitous masks on people’s faces, it is as if there has been no pandemic at all. People feel free to go around, and businesses are operating at or near their pre-pandemic levels.
If this optimistic scenario persists, the new administration may believe that COVID-19 is no longer on its priority list.
It will be mistaken in that belief.
First, the possibility of a resurgence remains.
Second, the health crisis will not end with the lower number of new cases.
During the darkest days of the pandemic, we saw how ill-prepared our health system was to accommodate the tens of thousands of new cases every day. Intensive care units of hospitals were full to the brim. Most of all, our medical frontliners found themselves exhausted, underpaid, and even neglected by the government despite the sacrifices and risks they made and took.
We saw, too, how poorer Filipinos ignored or underreported their symptoms for fear of losing their jobs or being discriminated against.
Some had no way of accessing healthcare or even medicines for their symptoms.
All these should be considered as the new administration crafts its health plan. The next leaders would find that an inclusive, accessible, and just health system would do Filipinos immense good.