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COVID-19 ‘airborne’, more infectious – SHARP EDGES by JAKE J. MADERAZO

By Jake J. Maderazo July 07, 2020 - 06:24 AM


The over 5,000 new and confirmed new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in just three days is a cause of major concern, with Metro Manila accounting for 1,069 of the new cases. Dr. Elden Salvaña, a member of the Department of Health (DOH) technical working group, suggests that the virus has mutated and is now three times more infectious.

Health reform advocate Dr. Tony Leachon believes the virus is “airborne” after 238 coronavirus experts from 32 countries issued an open letter to the World Health Organization.

They say the COVID-19 virus lingers in the air indoors and infects people nearby, as indicated by new infections in bars, restaurants, offices, markets and casinos worldwide.

Here, positive cases have been reported among Metro Rail Transit 3 ticket sellers and depot employees, market personnel, public utility drivers, security guards, government office workers and household helpers who regularly accept deliveries or run errands. The hike in infections has led to higher admissions in both private and public hospitals.

The DOH says Metro Manila’s clinical care resources are at “moderate risk level” with 62.18 percent as of June 30 although private hospitals are at full capacity. The Chinese General Hospital has issued an advisory on incoming COVID-19 patients while St. Lukes Medical Center has created a third coronavirus ward due to an increase in admissions.

The high number of cases is aggravated by the “quarantine fatigue” felt by the majority of public officials and Metro Manila residents.

Among being locked down for nearly four months, there is a big possibility that we might be going back to enhanced community quarantine. People are not careful anymore. They are not afraid of being infected but want to keep working to put food on the table. With the new cases, Metro Manila mayors, with police and health officials, should step up monitoring and place areas with outbreaks at the barangay level under quarantine, including residential subdivisions, high-rise condominiums and establishments.

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This is a terrible time for Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa and the entire police force.

The recent killing of four Army intelligence operatives in Jolo, Sulu province, was earlier called by PNP officials a misencounter, a shooting incident and lately, a possible “overkill” by the policemen involved.

President Duterte ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to find the “real truth” about the incident.

Comes now the alleged rape and subsequent killing of 15-year-old Fabel Pineda in San Juan, Ilocos Sur province, with two policemen as suspects.

Gamboa said he had ordered the dismissal of Police Staff Sergeants Randy Ramos and Marawi Torda.

But the issue of “real discipline” within the ranks of the PNP is now being raised.

Remember that Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas was defended by no less than the President for holding a “mañanita” in violation of quarantine protocols.

The three issues are a major black eye for the PNP.

In the past four years, the police, according to Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys, had the people’s respect under then PNP chief turned Sen. Bato dela Rosa, followed by Oscar Albayalde. That no longer seems to be the case now. INQ

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