At first blush, there appears to be reason for optimism that we are on our way to beating the COVID-pandemic.
More vaccines have arrived and are set to arrive in the coming days. As of June 17, some 14.2 million doses of vaccine doses have been delivered. As of June 20, more than 8 million doses have been administered—6.2 million first doses, and more than 2.1 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated.
We are told that given the number of vaccines set to arrive in the coming days, herd immunity could be attained by year-end
The number of new cases per day has also significantly gone down from the March-April surge of 11,000 cases; on June 22, the number of new cases was at 3,666. The National Capital Region, the center of the economy, has also registered a significant drop in new infections despite the relaxed restrictions.
Given all these, and with many months of lockdown, it is not difficult to imagine how Filipinos could let their guard down. Malls and other establishments, however, have resumed near-normal operations. Lockdown fatigue is all too common – we are desperate to connect with family, friends, and colleagues the way we used to, meaning not from behind a computer screen.
We should not succumb to the temptation of being less careful.
There are many indications that the virus remains a menacing threat and a resurgence is possible with just the fewest of missteps or carelessness.
First, we have to be aware that our perception may be limited to where we are. In places in Visayas and Mindanao, COVID-19 cases remain high, overwhelming hospital systems. Worse, some of these places may not have the resources and other advantages of the capital region.
Second, the Delta variant of the virus is reported to be more threatening, because it is more contagious and may be acquired even through fleeting contact.
Third, our resources to assist patients and other affected segments of the population are dwindling.
Whether we have been vaccinated or not, and whether we truly miss going places rather than getting stuck at home, let us continue to embrace a paranoid mindset that anybody—even we ourselves—can catch the virus anytime. The threat continues to loom large, and we should not let our guard down, not even for a moment.