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Don’t take the risk!

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Trust it to the Filipino to worry about Noche Buena fare even while dealing with a pandemic.  Reports in the news are now warning about hikes in the prices of Christmas goodies even if we have barely started October.  Well, that’s the Filipino mentality for you.  Holidays and festivities always take first place in our plans and preparations, and, this early, we are already worrying about hikes in noche buena prices.  By the way, for our readers abroad who are not familiar with our customs, “noche buena” which actually translates to “good night”, to the Filipino refers to the sumptuous midnight fare we reserve for Christmas!

***

Well, Christmas is still more than two months away, but, for the Filipino family, it is time to be planning the much-awaited “noche buena” which usually consists of the common dishes and goodies reserved for the Birthday of Jesus Christ, and for which families stay up till midnight to celebrate.  And I am sure that, pandemic or no pandemic, the custom will still be observed in the traditional way with the traditional dishes and fruits that come with it.  But since we are still several weeks away from Christmas Eve, let us spend time in praying that this pandemic will have gone away by then so can celebrate in our usual fashion.

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This time, though, let us include in our prayers our pleas to have a truly Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and that this pandemic that has been troubling the world will have gone away completely by then.  For how can we truly celebrate and gather in our churches on this blessed day when we have to observe social distancing, and be wary even of our own relatives, and friends who may join us?  I believe our main prayers for the coming holiday should be for the removal of this virus that has been promoting the disease that, so far, has not been fully controlled yet.

***

But let us also hope our country can prevent the entry of the so-called “Mu” variant of this COVID that has come after the Delta, and plead with our Savior to stop such variants and inspire our medical people to discover the medicines that can counter it.  Ironically, after the “Mu” variant was identified, medics also identified another ailment that they have named “Mad Cow” disease!  Now, what are the symptoms and effects of this one?  Do its victims behave like fighting bulls, or protective female cows?  Strange, indeed, are the ailments that are coming up to confuse and decimate world population lately!

***

Now, what about this current confusion about vaccination?  There are some schools of thought that believe they should not be administered to children, i.e. minors, and yet others are now recommending them as well.  I bet a lot of parents are confused as to whether to allow their kids to undergo it, until approval comes from the highest medical authorities in the country.  What I have lately learned about vaccinations, however, is that one must not consider oneself already covered and safe until that time has passed, lest you become a “spreader”.

***

One province that has been reported to have experienced a surge in COVID cases recently is Bohol, and it has been considered to be due to local transmissions.  That could mean that those vaccinated have not been careful enough, or had not been warned about the 14-day observance.  I supposed other provinces and  cities have already been forewarned about that possibility, so we may not hear of more cases of surges, even after vaccinations have been administered.

***

One activity that this COVID has certainly affected is socializing and getting together for which various countries, cities and provinces have determined their own rules.  In Hawaii, I heard some cities allow only 10 guests for party indoors, and 20 outdoors.  For Filipinos, such numbers would not constitute a real, full-blown party, would it? It could only refer to the family members, with no allowance for guests.  What a killjoy this COVID is!

***

I wonder how our local vaccination campaigns are going on.  I know that in the cities they are going strong, but what about in the towns and barrios?  Are the vaccines available and are the residents receptive? In Pampanga, I heard that 160 aetas have volunteered for vaccination.  Don’t tell me the non-Aetas are the ones acting uncivilized?  I hope the others are taking a cue from them, and have started volunteering to be inoculated.  I think the vaccines are quite effective.  I have yet to hear or read about those who have undergone it, still being afflicted by the COVID.  At least not in our area.  So, let’s take the risk, when the preventive is available.*

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