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Heartbreaks at the Olympics

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

I was hoping to write about the President’s State of the Nation Address in this column, but it is almost 4 p.m. already and I have an appointment that I cannot forego. So, I guess I will have to hold my horses, figuratively, on it, and rely on replays or second hand comments later. I actually thought it would be delivered at 2 p.m., but there must have been a different schedule for it. Anyway, I am sure both our readers and I already have a very good idea of what state our nation is in now.

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But it is very worrisome to hear the reports from other places in the country where the pandemic is still doing its worse. In Iloilo, for instance, it was reported that several nuns in a Carmelite Monastery have been stricken. Now, who could have passed the virus to them, since they are not known to leave their cloisters? Could it have been people who deliver stuff to them, or some troubled people seeking advice and prayers who had approached them? Truly, this virus is no respecter of status and even cloistered people are not too distant for it to reach.

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That is why, if we have been cautious about it before, we should be more careful no matter who are the people we interact with. Think of the Children’s Birthday party reported in the news, where most of those present later tested positive for it. That is why we cannot help echoing the injunctions to “Stay Home”. And, in the meantime, keep on praying that members who have to go out, return without the virus in their luggage! This is one virus whose ingenuity we cannot underestimate.

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In fact, I believe, our country must be better off than others, wealthier and more advanced in science and medicine,  than we are. And the more populous ones, like India are also among the hardest hit. But I keep wondering why we never hear  of statistics on it from China, where it all began. Remember that finding in the province  called Wuhan, where the earliest victims were stricken? I don’t think I have heard any reports as to  the effect of the COVID there. But my only source of news now is TV, and, who knows, there could be some secrecy from the areas where the virus originated.

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But there is a bit of good news this week and it is about the reduction in prices of oil products. We’ve not had a “rollback” for some time now  and this time it is really most welcome. Have the oil-producing countries been getting more than they can consume or export these days? At least, for non-producers like us, that is one good bit of news, and we hope no increases will be announced soon. But maybe  the fact that people are traveling less could account  for less consumption and therefore sales, which is why we are getting this little gift of lower prices.

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As I write this, a report on TV disclosed that the French people are being strictly checked as to whether they have been vaccinated or not. They call their “proof” or cards “passes”, and I am sure that I can go there now (sweet dreams)! But it is good to know that COVID, notwithstanding, the Olympic competition continues, with the United States and China supposedly running neck and neck in the medal count. But some athletes had to be sent home earlier, for displaying symptoms of COVID, and what a heartbreaking thing it must have been for the poor youths who had prepared, rehearsed, and practiced so long  and so earnestly for it!

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But we must admire the athletes from other countries – do we have some from the Philippines this time? Yes, I think so, and one has already gotten a medal so far. Let us wish them luck and pray for them, not only for successful performances, but also protection from the virus that, obviously, has not spared Japan, too. A report also said that several athletes from various countries had to be sent packing because they tested positive for COVID upon arriving there. How heartbreaking, indeed!

***

Does our generation also need to build arks? Everytime I switch on the TV, I am met with scenes of flooded areas, with people either wading, or splashing along on cycles. And that is not limited to one or two countries, but several ones. Oh! I have already  gotten to this paragraph when I noted that the President was already delivering his SONA, A.K.A. State of the Nation Address. As expected, the audience in the hall, limited to Congress members, clapped obediently at the right pauses. Well, the news will be full of that today, so I leave the reporting to them. He seems to be thanking everybody but I didn’t hear anything about us media people. No news is good news, they say.*

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