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Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said the Philippines is entering a “phase of acceptance” in the Covid-19 pandemic, where people are aware of the risks but are learning to manage them.
“I call it a phase of acceptance; I believe it has started and that we will have to live with the risks of the virus still being around,” he said.
Doctors have been warning that the country may experience more Covid cases as outdoor masking rules have been relaxed despite vaccination rates still remaining sluggish. The return to in-person classes also raised fears that the virus might reach even home-bound elderly citizens and the immunocompromised, who are much more likely to suffer severe illness and even death.
Infectious diseases expert Dr. Benjamin Co said that the country cannot wait for everyone to decide on their personal health. “We cannot protect everyone all the time. I guess we have already provided everyone with the tools to prevent, diagnose and treat Covid-19. The next move is ours on an individual basis,” said the OCTA Research fellow.
Dr. Co further explained that it may appear that Covid cases are going down globally, but that it is not because there are fewer people getting infected, but that because “people are not testing as frequently as before and prefer to move on in spite of the pandemic.”
Dr. Co further likened the pandemic to the stages of grief: anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. “The sixth stage is the final journey after acceptance – finding meaning,” said Dr. Co. “With lives upended by the pandemic … it really is difficult to get back to the way it was. We will never be the same anytime soon. Yet we need to be.”
Concepcion, meanwhile, said that Filipinos have been guided and advised for the last two years, and that vaccinations remain free to avail across the country. “Doctors advise us on how we should handle Covid, but in the end it is us that makes the choice,” he said. “We suffer the consequences of our wrong decisions in life; this is no different,” he said.
Concepcion explained that since the country cannot legally mandate vaccinations, it will need to stock up on antiviral medicines, especially to be able to treat those who become severely ill.
“The world has started moving on; let’s not be the last ones to accept this fact,” he said.