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As selected areas in the Philippines transitioned to a general community quarantine (GCQ), people have hoped that the country has flattened the curve of COVID-19 infections and that everything will be “back to normal” again. However, for two months without proper mass testing and many still not adhering to quarantine protocols, a second, and perhaps even more dangerous, wave of COVID-19 infections may be possible. Dr. Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization said during a press conference last May 13, 2020, that the virus “may never go away.”
You may feel helpless about the situation, but all is not lost. Here are some of the things you can do to help the country prevent the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines.
Remember that GCQ Still Requires Physical Distancing
Physical distancing remains important because close contact with others makes it easy to spread the novel coronavirus and other infections. With the gradual reopening of malls and some shops, remember to observe physical distancing whenever you go out. As we’ve seen earlier this week, there is an influx of people going out and making the most of their “malling” time while buying necessities.
If you live in areas placed under an extended enhanced community quarantine (EECQ) or a “special concern” lockdown, avoid larger crowds in public places such as markets, convenience stores, and grocery stores. Even if you are relatively healthy and you disinfect regularly, it is still better to be safe than sorry. Stay at home as much as possible, find ways to have fun indoors, and help the country prevent a second wave.
Help Our Frontliners Keep the Country Safe
We have to fight COVID-19 as a nation, and this means keeping not just yourself safe, but also following the advice of frontliners in maintaining a healthy and virus-free household. If you must go outside, wear your face mask and other personal protective equipment (PPEs) to lessen the risk of infection. This goes both ways: if you wear PPEs, you will have a lower chance of being infected, and if you have been infected but are asymptomatic, this lowers the chance of you spreading the infection further.
If you or anyone in the family is a frontliner, it’s even more important to practice personal hygiene so that any virus that may cling to you from exposure to patients in hospitals will not spread to the whole family. If you’ve run out of face masks, DIY your PPE for sustainable, environment-friendly, and practically free options.
Be a Responsible Individual so the Family Stays COVID-free
Of course the battle against COVID-19 doesn’t end with maintaining at least a meter’s distance outside and protecting yourself with PPEs.
Now more than ever, you need to disinfect common surfaces at home, as well as items that were bought outside. From your groceries to your footwear, everything needs thorough disinfection before they can be brought inside the home. Wash your hands after handling these items to remove any trace of the virus and prevent the spread of it around the house.
Remember to strengthen your immune system too. If ever you’re exposed to the virus in a smaller load, your strong immune system might be able to fight it off without needing hospitalization, and this may help the country develop herd immunity.
Protect Yourself from Other Infections
It is also important to not ignore any other viral infections and diseases while you combat COVID-19. While the world is under a global pandemic caused by SARS-COV-2, there are still risks brought on by other infectious diseases that may affect family members with weaker immune systems.
The novel coronavirus is more dangerous to those with co-morbidities, which means if your immune system is compromised due to other sicknesses, you have a higher chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if the virus gets into your system. To prepare in case the second wave of COVID-19 cases officially hits the Philippines, boost your immune system, eat healthily, exercise regularly, disinfect the home, and go out only when necessary.
Cooperation Is Key
Your family and the whole neighborhood will be safer from COVID-19 if everyone cooperates and understands their role in curbing the spread of the virus. Most areas only allow one person to go out to get necessities, but some family members might insist on coming with you to escape the cabin fever they’re feeling. Others may want to go out when they’re craving their favorite drink. Remind them that they might be bringing home potential viruses, and inform them of what happens if they break quarantine protocols.
The idea of a second wave of COVID-19 infections may be terrifying for most of us, as no proper mass testing has been implemented for the past two months. You have a role to play in preventing the further spread of the virus. Follow precautionary measures and know the importance of caring for each other in the time of a pandemic. The sooner each person cooperates, the sooner we can all enjoy being outside safely again.