02407: Uneven Government Response

Over the weekend, the Philippine government confirmed our first cases of local transmission of COVID-19 in the country after many weeks of no reported cases. We've gone from 3 cases to 24 as of tonight and the way things are being handled leaves much to be desired. Apart from the daily updates from the Department of Health, we now have parallel announcements from the various LGUs who are focused on contextualizing cases only specific to their municipalities without linking them to the manner in which the DOH announced cases, so there's often confusion how the LGU cases link to the DOH cases. That is getting formalized into the process moving forward, but it's still a little shaky.

Earlier today various Mayors started suspending classes in their respective cities for a few days or for the whole week, but tonight the President doubled down and suspended classes in all of Metro Manila until Saturday But sure, let's keep kids at home even if historically this segment of the population has proven to be most resilient to the different strains of the coronavirus over the years.

While I'm sure it can help mitigate possible spread to some degree, simply keeping people home isn't a sustainable strategy for dealing with this epidemic. I feel we should be doing more to better educate people on good hygiene practices since that's the realistic way to prevent infection while still allowing civilization to continue to function in this country. Solutions like this, along with suggestions to lock down all of Metro Manila, are inelegant solutions that feel too much like using a blunt instrument to address a complex problem. They're big, outlandish moves that certainly capture public attention and make sure that people can't deny that they're at least trying to do something, even if it's not well-thought-out?

We're still early in this fight and I fear things are going to get sillier before they get better. There are some very dark possibilities should the government decide to take a much stronger hand in trying to manage this disease along similar lines, but I'm not going to put those fears into words just yet.

Stay safe, folks. Practice better judgment and wash your hands regularly. And don't waste the time of hospitals and other health personnel - only get tested when you meet the higher risk criteria.