A year ago, summer vacation plans were cancelled en masse when the Covid-19 pandemic forced most of the world to lock down.
Back then, most of us were able to take the cancellations in stride, recognizing the importance of staying safe at home as the pandemic shut down everything, from the world’s biggest cities to our humble homes. We postponed trips and events, hoping that governments would be able to handle the pandemic and everything would go back to normal in due time.
This year, there are no plans to cancel because most of us learned our lessons from 2020. Our intimate experience with the catastrophe that is the incompetence of the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic ensured that nobody made any ambitious plans this year. We all know by now that only the ultra-rich, powerful, and connected could afford to do what they want.
There were a few weeks about this time last year when the optimists among us thought that this too shall pass. 2020 would be tough but everything should be back to normal by 2021. Whatever we put off can still push through one day and the bucket lists that have been put on hold will be unleashed with a vengeance when this is all over.
However, as time went by and the many continuing epic failures of our government slowly convinced even the most positive people that our new normal will nowhere be near the old normal that we once enjoyed, people simply stopped making big plans and settled for the low hanging fruit instead.
Those with wanderlust adjusted their plans, targeting Hinobaan or Sipalay instead of Japan or Europe. Party people started to think of small, intimate gatherings between close friends instead of the big el grande events that they lived for. School children who have become sick and tired of the poorly executed online class program stopped hoping for the return of face-to-face classes. The religious ones learned to commune with their God in a more personal level.
With the current surge that our country is experiencing where government seems resigned, helpless and apathetic when faced with the record highs in the numbers of new Covid cases being recorded, there is no hope for this summer being different from last year. If you come to think of it, this year’s summer may even be worse.
Travel is still a dream. Staycations could turn into nightmares. The parties and gatherings that have been starting to gather momentum in the past few months, fueled by quarantine fatigue and a false sense of hope in the still-unfulfilled promise of mass vaccination, will have to stop once more. Zoom meetings won’t be going away, school won’t return to normal this year. The Act of Spiritual Communion and the revised Oratio Imperata are going to part of the Eucharistic Celebrations forever and ever amen.
Millions of kids, especially those in their teens, will be growing up isolated and trapped. The sick and dying, even if they don’t get Covid, could die without leaving their homes. They cannot see friends and loved ones one last time because we live in the country with arguably the worst Covid response in the world.
Summer plans are dead. Get over it. The only feasible plan at this point is to do everything we can to avoid infection and survive this summer because bulk of the vaccines will take a few more months before it gets here.
What has to change so we can have a normal summer next year, when our only problems will be dealing with the oppressive heat and picking a vacation destination? Will the pasaway Filipino people who are being blamed for the situation we are in be ok with another wasted year? Or are we finally going to hold the people responsible for making our lives better instead of worse accountable for all the time they have wasted with their apathy and incompetence?*