October 2, 2023

Several proposals are being suggested to avoid contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that caused panic worldwide. Such suggestions border the funny, the innocent, and the truth. One suggestion is to eat more onions because they have curative effects that will kill the nCoV. This might make sense although it was ridiculed by trolls who say that onions give bad breath and is more apt as an aphrodisiac. At least, if you have bad breath, it gives a vital reason to wear a mask.
The second suggestion is to wear a mask all the time. Wearing a mask, say health officials, will lessen the risk of getting infected with the nCoV. The problem with this solution is that the supply of masks is running out. Some unscrupulous businessmen are hoarding supply for bigger profits. Unless the government comes up with a law penalizing the hoarding of masks, its price will spike to unreasonable amounts. And, since it is the season when people need to wear masks, black markets will thrive.
Another problem regarding the wearing of masks is the conflicting opinions by health authorities on when to wear it. The World Health Organization says that we only need to wear masks if we are in crowded and encamped spaces. Those who are caring for patients with respiratory ailments also need to wear masks. Finally, those who are themselves infected with the flu, cough, or any sickness that has something to do with any kind of viral infection must wear masks. Aside from that, there is no need to wear one.
But I guess people want assurance, especially since the specter of an epidemic looms large in the country. The first death due to the nCoV outside China occurred in the Philippines. The Department of Health says that this should not be counted as part of our statistics because the victim is a Chinese who came from the Hubei Province of China. Aw c’mon, are we supposed to buy that? The fact that the death happened in our backyard makes us wary that the imminent scatter of the nCoV is in our midst. For all we know, we are already exposed to it. How will the DOH explain that there are already more than 100 people from all over the country listed as “persons under investigation”? I thought that term only applied to drug suspects. Perhaps, it is to confuse and confound the people on the true state of affairs of the nCoV in the Philippines.
“Don’t panic,” the spokespersons of the government keep on repeating every time they are interviewed. Shouldn’t we? Look, when the supply of face masks and alcohol are running low, those suspected to be infected are multiplying faster by the day, and private and public hospitals are being required by the DOH to set up triage areas. Are these not a cause of alarm? By the way, a triage is a special area akin to a quarantine space where patients with fever, cough, or cold are screened. Obviously, the screening is to know whether or not the cause of their fever, cough, or cold is the dreaded nCoV. We don’t see a triage very often because it is an emergency response. If there is an emergency response, would it not be reasonable to assume that there is an emergency?
Therefore, whether or not the wearing of masks is within the WHO guidelines, people are inclined to wear it. Besides, some desire to wear masks as a fashion statement. It comes in different colors and different designs. There are masks printed with smiling faces, masks that conceal ugly faces, and masks that are simply that – masks. Although doctors recommend the N-95, it does not matter to us. What matters is that we have a mask.
The Chinese feel discriminated because they are being shunned all over the world. Countries have put a ban on any Chinese traveling to their shores. Restaurants are putting up signs saying “No Chinese allowed.” Everyone, it seems, are trying to avoid any contact with the Chinese. “Foul,” says China. Yes, it may be unfair and discriminatory, but they must realize that this cold treatment is the natural reaction of a world in panic. It is not really a concerted or a deliberate effort to discriminate against them. It is more for survival. Remember, the virus originated in China. We do not hate the Chinese. Like Duterte, we love them. What we hate is the nCoV that originated from them. What we hate is the fear of being infected by them. So, there is a rational basis in avoiding the Chinese from China, specifically those from Wuhan until such time that their country can show to the world that they are fully cured.
For the meantime that the nCov threat is for real, take all the necessary precautions. Take plenty of sunshine and plenty of vitamin C. Eat right and sleep right. Avoid vices for it weakens the immune system. Strengthen your body and soul. These are the surest ways of surpassing the health crisis besetting China and the world.