We’re in a world war right now. But no one thought this is the kind of 3rd world war we’ll be having.
It’s not a war against human or alien invaders. And it’s not an invasion we’ve prepared with our sophisticated weaponry and digital-age military hardware.
In fact, it’s a war with an enemy we’re ill-prepared to repel; an enemy so miniscule, yet so virulent that it frequently makes humanity react with impetuosity, humbled despite all the science it has learned over the centuries.
But this war against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is much tougher than we anticipated. It’s pushing humanity to a corner, as more than 100,000 worldwide are now afflicted with more than 4000 dying from it.
In our country, the number is exponentially increasing. Total number of afflicted will probably run into thousands by the time you read this. As of this writing, the fatality rate is around 9.6 percent, which is 2.8 times higher than the global death rate of 3.4 percent. The stats are rapidly changing, with more than a thousand persons under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM).
It may be humbling to admit, but the medical communities around the world and many governments found themselves inadequately prepared for this pandemic. No one could really claim to have any first-hand experience on handling pandemics, as the last one was 102 years ago—also caused by a flu virus. It affected more than a quarter of the global population then, and killed tens of millions. One dreads to imagine the extent that this current pandemic could reach if not effectively controlled.
While medical science is still finding the cure for those afflicted, and vaccine to prevent others from getting ill with it, our doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other paramedical personnel tasked to attend to patients with possible COVID man the frontlines. They are the unsung heroes of this war, gallantly attending to the casualties, putting their own lives in peril.
To these doctors, plus the many other unsung heroes like the security guards screening everyone who enters the building or hospital, the lab technicians doing the swabs and diagnostic work-ups of suspected PUIs and PUMs, the nurses taking care of the patients, and many others—we owe them all a debt of gratitude.
We’re not seeing the end of this war soon; but wherever it may take us, we know that with the altruistic and kindred spirit shown by these gallant frontliners and health warriors of ours, we’ll end up triumphant.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD