"We can’t afford to relax, especially during this festive time."
With only a few days more to the celebration at full throttle of Christmas, we should never drop our guard while marking a deeply rooted religious and cultural tradition, given the wild and recalcitrant coronavirus pandemic that has infected and killed thousands since March this year.
The season is particularly highly anticipated by millions of Filipino children—with among others images of the generous Santa Claus, the enormously lighted manger in many towns representing the feeding trough where Jesus, believed by Christians as their Redeemer, power lighted lanterns along the streets and other corners, and droves of young children going house-to-house for caroling.
But there is an across the board weight in what Dr. Anthony Leachon, a former adviser of the government’s pandemic task force, said which parents and other adults should not turn a blind eye on.
There is a reverberant message Dr. Leachon had timely raised: that children can become superspreaders if they are allowed to go outside their homes during the holidays—a mnemotechnic device as it were as President Rodrigo Duterte was set to announce quarantine measures for the last month of the year.
“They say the holiday season is about kids and children but I think if they will be allowed to roam around and visit the malls they will be the ones to carry the virus at home. They will be the superspreaders and they will affect their parents and grandparents so this is dangerous,” Leachon said in an ANC news program.
“This has been happening in other countries where the children are actually the superspreaders in the home and in other areas,” he said.
He was correct. And we endorse the grain of his observation that there will be a “confluence” of COVID-19 problems in the remaining month of the year, underlining what what lead-off health authorities have repeatedly stressed that we are not yet out of the difficulties because of social mobility expected during the last quarter of the year.
And Leachon has another red flag, that with the lower temperature during the holidays, with experience and over-indulgence as teachers, we may experience an uptick of cardiovascular cases and these are more vulnerable to COVID infection.
Otherwise stated, with the holiday season up and more people gearing up for a deeply embedded tradition, we should also look at safety precautions in evacuation centers where people are—following the quarantine protocols and those evacuated to safety following a series of typhoons in the last quarter.
We can’t afford to relax our vigilance. The people’s health is the people’s long-time wealth.