May 20, 2024

It was a crowd drawing fiesta that was bound to happen and, ironically the City of Baguio may have had a hand in its promotion. In fact, it practically invited the people to converge among themselves risking their health and causing protocol violations.
Last Dec. 1, the city government has closed Session Road and other adjoining streets for the yearly event involving the lighting of the giant Christmas tree atop Session Road. On ordinary days, this event would have been a spectacle. A day when people can freely marvel at the lights and appreciate the opening of the Christmas rush. But this Dec. 1 is not an ordinary day. This Dec. 1, 2020 remains to be a Covid day.
Yet, the expectation of the residents, as well as guests, remains the same. The traditional excitement is there to feel. So, on that fateful night, when people were supposed to be at home, isolating themselves and avoid unnecessary crowding or grouping, they trooped to Session Road to see the Christmas tree light up for the first time this year.
By estimate, there were several hundreds who went to be entertained, disregarding the repeated warning to avoid crowded places. Without so much as being concerned with distancing themselves from each other, they walked up and down Session Road as if there was no danger lurking in their midst.
It did not help ease the situation that on the same night, the night market along Harrison Road opened to welcome customers. Ah, it was a sure formula for disaster.
People milling and mulling among themselves in a cramped-up area where the weather is cold and damp is the best breeding ground for the Covid-19. Have we not learned our lesson?
Just when our city was included among the virus hotspots, here we are taking liberty organizing events that promote the convergence of people. Just when we were on a strict lockdown because of the sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 infected patients, we allowed people of all ages to walk up and down Session Road without regard to health protocols.
Yes, those who went to witness the lighting of the Christmas tree and to watch the virtual lantern parade wore masks and tried their darnest best to be as far as possible from each other. However, under the prevailing conditions at that time as well as the sheer number of people present, physical distancing, at its best, was conveniently negated.
Hopefully, the Christmas tree emanated enough light to kill the virus. Otherwise, we shall be expecting additional numbers of Covid-19 infected patients in the coming days.