More teachers contract COVID-19 after gov’t resumed public school classes

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) sounded the alarm over the growing positive COVID-19 patients among teachers.

ACT said that the teachers possibly caught the viral disease while going to different places just to distribute the learning modules to the students.

The teachers group added that there are more than 240 teachers from Region IV-A (CALABARZON) and Central Luzon who turned COVID-19 positive. Another 52 non-teaching personnel also caught the disease.

“Malaking bahagi ng gastusin sa pagkakasakit sa COVID-19 ay hindi shouldered ng PhilHealth. Kaya sa aming cases na na-monitor, talagang nagshe-shell out ng pera ‘yung teachers, naglo-loan upang pambayad sa kanilang hospital bills,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Basilio speculated that it’s most likely the virus came from parents of students with COVID-19. Due to this, more than a hundred teachers are now in isolation areas. He noted that there are already six teachers who passed away due to the disease.

ACT also expressed dismay over the Department of Education’s (DepEd) recent statement apparently blaming teachers for giving too many activities to the students.

The group said that the teachers are just complying with the guidelines of the modules DepEd produced and it’s indicated in the modules to give students at least five activities per lesson.

It added that some teachers opted to “self assess” and chose not to follow the guidelines provided by the DepEd Central Office with regard to the modules in order for students not to be bombarded with loads of activities to answer.

“Kaya nga po ang mga ginagawa ng teachers ngayon ay nagse-self assess hindi na po nila sinusunod ang guidelines ng DepEd central office kasi nakikita nila hindi talaga kakayanin ng mga bata ang maraming activities,” said Basilio.

PRRD’s LOCKDOWN STRATEGY FAILS PH — WHO ENVOY

Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Special Envoy on Covid-19, recently questioned not only the legitimacy but the efficiency of lockdowns and quarantines as solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Nabarro, who spoke to The Spectator, said, “’We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method”.

He also said, “The only time we believe a lockdown in justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources; protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it […] “Lockdowns have just one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.”

Dr. Nabarro based his statement on an article which he wrote earlier titled “Reflections about the Middle Path,” which advocates a balance between restrictions and living a “normal” life.

The Spectator explained that lockdowns do not stop the virus from spreading. What it does is that it “freezes the virus” and allows it to wreak havoc on the populace. 

“This means test-trace-isolate-protect services everywhere, with clearly justified performance metrics,” the doctor stressed. “It is important there is enough testing capacity to pick up where the virus is, to detect spikes and manage surges. Lockdowns just freeze the virus … they do not lead to elimination.”

According to the WHO’s Covid-19 dashboard, infection figure is pegged at 37.4 million with 1.074 million deaths as of Oct. 2020. The Americas top the WHO’s infection charts at 17.9 million, followed by Southeast Asia at 7.987 million and Europe at 7.011 million.

Based on recent figures released by the Saudi Arabian health ministry, the Philippines has slightly overtaken Saudi Arabia in Covid-19 caseloads at 339,341 and 339,267, respectively.

Despite what is criticized as perhaps the longest lockdown in the region at 212 days (from March 15, 2020 to Oct. 13, 2020), The Philippines continue to suffer an average of 2,000 daily new cases.

The high average of infection in the country despite a continuing lockdown proves in many ways how Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s insistence on varying quarantine restrictions has failed in stopping the virus from spreading. 

Palace spokesperson Harry Roque in early August had announced the reimposition of quarantine when the infections breached the 100,000 mark. The “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” was imposed following the President’s approval. 

Should a vaccine be made available by the People’s Republic of China or elsewhere, Duterte insisted on having the vaccinations inside police stations under the supervision of doctors.

Reports have indicated that the administration is in the middle of talks with the United States, China, Russia, Taiwan and Australia for a possible vaccine against Covid-19.

As of this writing, the country is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Department of Health (DOH), while silent on the matter of the continuing lockdown, stated early this month that it would champion the Universal Health Care during the Committee on Finance Senate Budget hearing on the 9th. 

According to the DOH, the organization and attached agencies and corporations submitted a 203.74B budget proposal for 2021, 27% higher than its 2020 budget.

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III stressed that “the approval of the proposed budget will set the scaffolding for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine roll-out next year to prioritize the most vulnerable members of society.”

Since the lockdown, the country has entered into recession, with the Philippine economy shrinking to a record 16.5%, much worse than the 9.0% forecast by a Reuter’s survey.

In early June, three months after the Luzon-wide lockdown, unemployment hit 7.3 million Filipinos based on Philippine Statistics Authority figures.

If seen from the statement of Dr. Nabarro, the Philippines seems to provide a microcosm where the doctor’s theories prove true. 

“Too many restrictions damage people’s livelihoods and provoke resentment,” Dr. Nabarro said in his article. “‘Virus run wild’ will lead to lots of deaths as well as debilitating long-COVID among younger people.”

Amid Mental Health Awareness Month, QC police sue woman over suicide attempt

After battling an episode of suicide and depression, a 22-year-old woman who attempted to take her own life on Saturday (October 10) has to face charges as the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) sued her for alarm and scandal, grave threat, and reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property.

In a statement released October 15, the QCPD said that the woman tried to commit suicide by shooting herself at a firing range in West Avenue, Barangay Nayong Kanluran, Quezon City. It added that “the range officer was shocked when he saw [the woman] bloodied while holding the rented handgun.”

The QCPD said that the woman is still at a hospital recovering from the incident.

Following this, negative reactions from Filipino netizens surface on social media. Some are criticizing why the QCPD filed charges against a woman who’s obviously mentally unstable.

“I wonder, do PNP schools have psychology subjects and actually study how humans behave and why? Or they were just taught to hold a gun and pull the trigger?” one Twitter user asked.

“This is disgusting. The PNP is an absolute disgrace. Instead of helping out someone with psychological distress, they want to cause further distress by pressing charges? The police are supposed to protect the people but clearly people need protection from them,” another Twitter user said.