A Return to Normalcy in Manila

Written by: Joaquin

Edited by: Jaeho

Visual by: Xiatian

The Covid-19 virus has been part of our lives for nearly two years now, and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future of the Philippines. With the world’s longest “lockdown” starting on March 16 of 2020, and the longest period of online schooling for any country (tied with Venezuela), a return to normalcy was looking very bleak. However, with the Philippines having started its mass vaccination program in March of 2021, a return to normal is finally a realistic possibility.  

The Philippines reported 356 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, December 7 2021,  the lowest daily tally since July 2020 last year. This brings the overall number of cases in the country to 2,835,345, according to the Department of Health. Additionally, the Makati Medical Center currently has zero in-patient instances of COVID-19, according to its Chief Medical Director, Dr. Saturnino Javier. According to the statement ascribed to Javier, “for the first time in 20 months since March 2020, MMC posted zero census for COVID-19 patients in all COVID-19 Wings and Critical Care units (as of Dec 6, 6:00).” The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group has also stated that the number of additional illnesses is at its lowest level since the DOH disclosed 252 on July 2 last year. Additionally, for the past 14 days, the daily case count has stayed below 1,000. Based on test findings of samples gathered from 24,360 people on Sunday, Dec. 5, the DOH said the positivity rate was 1.4%. According to ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido, it is the second lowest since data became available in April 2020. 

This excellent news and massive drop off in the number of Covid cases could not have come at a better time, as the Philippines piloted in-person school testing last month. ISM has also started its hybrid learning program on Monday, November 21, much to the delight of many of its students. Poorna (11) said that, “I think it’s positive because we are able to learn better from teachers” and we are, “less distracted because you can’t look at your phone at any time.”

The lower number of infections per day has not only been beneficial for students and schools all around the Philippines but for the business sector as well—especially small businesses. Many small businesses are counting on the increased holiday and pre-election spending to help them recover from the losses during the pandemic. “They will be able to pay back their loans and earn enough to provide for their workers’ 13th month pay,” said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion. 

The improvement in the Philippines’ Covid situation is a much needed reversal from the previous two years as it impacts many aspects of our lives. The substantial drop in the number of Covid cases, as well as hospitalizations, has aided in the return of face-to-face school, the small business sector, and much more freedom to move around Manila. We hope that this change for the better is here to stay as we try to move forward with our lives and learn to adapt to this new “normal”, whatever it may look like, in Manila. 

Works Cited 

Finally, Makati Medical Center Registers Zero Covid-19 … https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/06/21/finally-makati-medical-center-registers-zero-covid-19-cases.

PH Reports 356 New COVID-19 Cases, 92 New Deaths | ABS-CBN … https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/07/21/ph-reports-356-new-covid-19-cases-92-new-deaths.