Fighting and winning over an invisible foe

By: Rick Gabuya - Columnist/ | March 23,2020 - 07:00 AM


When the 3 p.m. siren nudged me from my Sunday afternoon siesta yesterday (Sunday, March 22) signaling the start of the 24-hour curfew for minors and senior citizens, who are 65 years old and older, it finally sunk into my consciousness that things are no longer what they used to be. That from now on, life wouldn’t be the same.

Earlier, schools and most businesses have been ordered closed. Churches have stopped holding eucharistic services with a live audience and opted instead to stream live Masses. 

Malls were also closed as well as entertainment centers, billiard halls, clubs, pubs, gyms and establishments that attract huge crowds.

Travel restrictions were also put in place, local government units ordered their constituents to stay at home via the community quarantine, social distancing was effected while visitation rights in jails were suspended. Luzon was placed under lockdown as deaths and infections continue to rise by the day.

The world economy is bleeding and in tatters. Tourism activities took a backseat resulting in the loss of income of thousands of stakeholders. Desperation continues to rise like the mourning and grieving of those who have lost their loved ones. Nations have shut off their borders and unfortunate incidents such as panic buying and empty grocery shelves have been reported worldwide.

Even sports, long regarded as the realm of the fit and healthy was not spared by the enemy. Athletic meets were scrapped, the NBA canceled its entire season as more of its top players tested positive. Even the quadrennial Olympics scheduled to start this July in Tokyo is now clouded in uncertainty.

Now, I can’t help but ask, how is this even possible? What the heck hit us?

The problem is this: We are fighting an invisible enemy called Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. It is a member of the large coronavirus family like the severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS of 2002 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-Cov). But none of its predecessors have greatly troubled mankind than COVID-19, which has now affected close to 200 countries and territories.

As of Sunday afternoon, the World Health Organization has reported 307,341 confirmed cases of the virus which first emerged in Wuhan City in China late last year. Of this number 13,049 have died — a figure that I’m sure had already escalated by the time you read this column — while 92,383 have recovered.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported 380 confirmed infections with 25 deaths and 17 recoveries. But it is feared that this number would escalate as infections in the country have just started.

So how do we fight an unseen adversary? How can we put up an iota of a battle against a virus that could be all around us yet unfelt and invisible?

Health experts have suggested several ways to at least protect us from this vicious virus such as frequent hand-washing, social distancing, self-quarantine, eating healthy foods and taking vitamins to boost our immune system. Also, it won’t harm if we start religiously sanitizing our surroundings.

But my real concern is our senior citizens as statistics showed that they are the most vulnerable sector in this crisis. In fact, close to 70 percent of those who succumbed to the pneumonia-inducing disease are persons 50 years old and older. 

That’s actually not surprising as our lolos and lolas have weaker immune systems brought about by their advancing age and its inherent health issues. But we can help them see this storm through.

I am no health expert, far from it. But I do believe that we should include some invisible ways to fight this unseen foe. Mano a mano, toe-to-toe. Some ways that if incorporated with our present remedies would surely bolster our arsenal. Here they are:

Exercise and eat healthy. You may not be able to visit your favorite gym at this time since these have been ordered temporarily closed by the government. But a few minutes of stretching and a few rounds of pushups inside the comforts of your home will do. Shoot that ball using your makeshift ring. You may also want to walk around your subdivision. Just don’t forget to wear a mask and carry a bottle of alcohol and sanitizer and limit your interaction with your friendly neighbors. Also, eat healthy foods. Load up on vegetables and fresh fruits. Drink milk that’s low in fat and high in calcium.

Take on a more positive mindset. Just think that this too — like all other trials you’ve faced in your life — shall come to pass. And that we should be at the finish line when this crisis is all over and not be relegated as a drop in the morbid ocean of statistics. Never mind the daunting headlines and scary broadcasts. Just think happy and positive thoughts. Laugh as often and as loud as you can and always remember that what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.

Soak in the love of people who truly care for you. Oftentimes during troubled times, we tend to forget that there are people who love us and worry about us too. So appreciate the care and love being showered on you. Never let this crisis dull your senses and your ability to show appreciation and gratefulness. Be grateful, be thankful, be happy. Remember, a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Live and love the outdoors. Our movements may be temporarily restricted by this virus. But by being out, is not just about going to the beach or the mountains or other big, open spaces. You can actually do this in the confines of your own garden. Warm yourself with the early morning sun, check which of your favorite plants have borne fruits and flowers. Follow the butterflies as they hop from flower to flower for their early morning binge. And most importantly, inhale the refreshing morning breeze. It’s a beautiful day. Life is beautiful, enjoy this free gift.

Lastly, pray. Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Believe that the Almighty grants the wishes of a sincere and repentant heart. 

Pray not just for yourself or your family but most especially for our brave frontliners who continue to risk their own lives so that we may live. 

Pray for our doctors, nurses and health personnel and those who work in pharmacies and in the utility sector that they may continue to serve with unmatched passion and unfailing dedication. 

Pray for the members of our military who gallantly patrol our streets without rest to ensure that the policies being implemented by the government for our safety and well being, are followed and observed. 

Pray for our government officials that they may serve with an enlightened mind and unfailing foresight. 

Pray for those who have suffered unfathomable pain due to this virus. 

And lastly, pray for the members of our Church that they may continue to inspire the faithful to tread the righteous path despite all the negativity around us. /dbs

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TAGS: COVID-19, eat, exercise, pray, walk

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