A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

After President Rodrigo R. Duterte placed Metro Manila in a “community quarantine” starting March 15 until April 14 due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the social media was teemed with comments (some were positive but mostly negative).  

In Davao City, there was also confusion when the city government released its Guidelines No. 8 on Covid-19.  Although it was not a lockdown, all residents are prohibited from going out of the city.  As for those short-term visitors, they are advised to leave the city immediately.  

The chaos and misperception are just the beginning.  As for this writing, there are already 64 cases and five deaths.  Let’s prepare for the impact.  As my friend, Dr. Jack Estuart, said: “Things will turn for the worse in the coming days.”

In her Facebook account, Davao City Councilor Mary Joselle Dilig Villafuerte – who’s a physician – urged health professionals to help: “The next several days will be the litmus test of how true we are to our calling; whether the oath we had taken that very day we chose to serve the general public still holds true and clear.  Confirmed cases are continuously on the rise and people around us are scared, not really sure what to do and who to believe.  It is up to us now to either fan their flame or quench it by remaining calm and composed.  No false promises, no fake claims.  Just dedication to the task at hand.”

Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China in December last year.  On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced its official name and that the virus that causes it is called SARS-Cov-2, as it is similar to the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

From China, Covid-19 spread to other countries, including the Philippines.  Today, it is present in all parts of the globe.  This was the reason why WHO declared a pandemic situation. “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a conference in Geneva. “It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

The SARS-Cov-2 spreads from person-to-person.  “Someone who is actively sick with Covid-19 can spread the illness to others,” says the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  “That is why we recommend that these patients be isolated in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.”

A briefer from the Ministry of Health in Singapore shares the following signs and symptoms of a person having Covid-19.  From the first to third days, the symptoms are similar to cold, mild throat pains, and no fever and not tired.  The person still consumes food and drink as normal.

On the fourth day, the person experiences the following: throat a little bit painful; body feels like drunk; voice becoming hoarse; body temperature around 36.5°; beginning of disturbance in eating habits; mild headaches and mild diarrhea.

On the fifth day, there is mild body heat; body temperature is between 36.5°-36.7°.  Other signs: throat pain and hoarse voice; weak body; and feeling joint pains.

On the sixth day, mild fever with temperature around 37° starts.  The person experiences the following: dry cough, exhausted and nauseous, occasional difficulty in breathing, fingers feeling pain, and diarrhea and vomiting. The throat is painful while eating, swallowing food or talking.

On the seventh day, these symptoms appear: higher fever from 37.4°-37.8°; coughing incessantly with phlegm; body pains and headache; worsening diarrhea; and vomiting. 

On the eighth day, the fever increases to around 38° or above 38°.  The person is having breathing difficulties; heavy feeling in the chest when breathing.  Also, he experiences incessant coughs, headaches, joint becoming lame, and buttocks pain.

On the ninth day, symptoms remain unchanged but becoming worse.  The fever is worsening so is cough.  The person is having difficulties in breathing and struggling hard to breathe.  At this stage, blood tests and chest x-ray must be conducted immediately.

“We are facing a public health emergency on two fronts: the Covid-19 and the limitations of our health facilities to respond to a huge segment of our population getting infected with the coronavirus,” said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in a statement.

“We do not have any confirmed cases as of the moment, but it will not be long before the reality will reach our doorsteps,” she added.  “And many of us get sick, our city will be paralyzed and will be at a standstill.”

Davao City is still not in a lockdown.  But what happens when the city will be under lockdown?  It means all people will stay at home and avoid at all costs going out.  Yes, no school or work but it doesn’t mean a holiday or going out with friends and family and meeting other people.  

An overseas Filipino worker, who’s now in Italy and the country is in lockdown, wrote in his social media account: “We have been there.  We didn’t listen.  We continued to go out and meet people even though we were told not to.  We underestimated the situation. And look where we are right now.  More than 10,000 Covid-19 cases and we are forced to stay at home.

“Do not do the same mistake like we did,” he urged. “Stay at home while you are not being forced.  Do your job as a citizen.  Your role in obedience will lead a big impact to the society.  It doesn’t matter if your plans are or were cancelled.  Your life and health are more important than that.”

Let’s listen to the health experts and authorities.  As President Duterte himself said, “(Covid-19) is a serious one.  Do not belittle it.  Do not minimize it, but do not kill yourself with worry… If you do not cooperate, the problem would start and would start with you and will end with you.” – ###