Gwen on ‘tuob’ critics: It is still a democracy

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 25,2020 - 08:59 PM
quarantine status

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia | (Contributed Photo/Capitol PIO)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the country was still a democracy and people should have the choice whether or not they would practice “tuob,” the traditional health regimen that she had endorsed to alleviate symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This was Garcia’s response on Thursday, June 25, 2020, after various medical societies, including the Department of Health, issued statements opposing the use of tuob or steam inhalation and debunking its benefits in fighting COVID-19.

“We stand by up-to-date medical evidence that steam inhalation has not been demonstrated to kill viruses, specifically the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19,” the medical groups said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.

“Because steam inhalation does not kill the virus and may cause potential harm, we cannot, in good conscience, endorse its use as a preventive or curative measure,” the medical professionals said.

They said that people who practice tuob should be careful and mindful of the first stages of burn injuries and appeal to the public to seek medical consult, despite doing tuob, if their symptoms persist or worsen.

Garcia, in a press conference, responded that there was nothing to quarrel about in the doctors’ statement.

“I think, in so far as steam inhalation is concerned, of course, we must be very careful. We cannot just allow boiling water to pour all over us. But I don’t think I have heard of cases of (people) getting scalded unless you are careless,” Garcia said.

Garcia added that while the provincial government was adopting the means recommended by experts to avert the infection such as physical distancing and practice of proper hygiene, the public should be given the choice if they would want to practice tuob on top of the health experts’ recommended precautions.

“It’s my personal experience. It may be different from one person to another. I am just sharing this because we are allowed to do that, can’t we? Pwede na man di ba?” she said.

“On the other hand, if people, who don’t have symptoms at all, or people who would rather choose to subject themselves to that because there are those who cannot afford to go to the hospital, I think this is still a democracy,” the governor added.

But the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), the largest medical society, in a separate statement, cautioned that the use of steam inhalation could only help spread the virus and not kill it.

READ: PH’s largest medical society denounces Gwen on tuob, calling out doctors

“Contrary to Governor Garcia’s claims, tuob does not treat COVID-19. Worse, it may facilitate the virus’s aerosolization and contamination of nearby persons, objects, or surfaces. Equally as disturbing, it may foster a false sense of security and well-being that in turn may cause an infected person to spread the virus,” the PMA said.

PMA added that the governor’s move in promoting tuob is ‘counterproductive, irresponsible, and dangerous.

“While the practice of tuob may offer relief to the person, it unduly increases the risk of virus spread and transmission to nearby individuals, surfaces (for example, the floor where the container was placed), or objects (for example, the piece of cloth used to cover the person, the exposed chair or table, etc.),” they added./dbs

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TAGS: democracy, Garcia, Gwen, Gwendolyn, tuob

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