In the Philippines, the concept of Social Distancing has been around for months. Government leaders and healthcare experts joined in their mission to curb the COVID-19. They formed groups and worked together to enforce laws to instruct all people to stay indoors. People could not go outside and assemble some groups with friends to flatten the COVID-19 . They could not even go to the cinemas, churches, friends’ houses, malls, parks, and other business and social institutions. Individuals aged 20 years old and below and 60 years old and above have been prohibited to roam around and walk with people. Government leaders, as well as healthcare professionals, did enforce that diktat to curtail the spread of the virus.
Are we doing the right thing? This question came to mind since the government leaders in the country kept on changing the mandate from ECQ to GCQ to ECQ again. This mandate came from the national government units (NGUs) to the local government units (LGUs). For example, some regions in the country did impose the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ); whereas, others were on the general community quarantine (GCQ). Depending on where the epicenter and what the number of cases of COVID-19 was, government leaders were on the verge of going the situations back to normal. However, things would never be the same, so the government leaders and healthcare professionals called it “new normal.” It seemed funny though that COVID-19 created panic and tension among people – poor and rich alike.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instructs healthcare providers and specialists to implement the keep-your-distance policy to slow down the spread of the virus. According to the site, limiting face-to-face contact with others becomes the best way to shrink the spread of COVID-19. The question now is on the effectiveness of social distancing policy. Before we answer that, we need to define and describe social distancing as a policy. Firstly, social distancing known as physical distancing means isolation. It keeps people’s distance. Secondly, social distancing is about two or more people with masks on six (6) feet apart. This condition, indeed, explains why two or more people keep their space between them.
Government leaders and their partners, such as the Department of Health (DOH) and other established agencies and units give directives to practice social or physical distancing:
- Stay at least 6 feet or about 2 arms’ length from other people.
- Self-isolate and make sure to avoid further contact with others.
- Do not form groups and meet people in groups.
- Stay out of jam-packed places and circumvent mass assemblies.
- Stay at home.
Ngayon, nagawa na natin ang lahat na precautinary measures. Bakit nandiyan pa rin ang COVID-19. It seemed it would stay anyway. Marami pa rin ang nagkasakit. Hindi man siguro dahil sa katigasan ng ulo kung bakit ang iba ay nagkaroon ng virus.
If we continue to keep our distances and wait for simulation packages or Social Amelioration Program (SAP), what will happen to us? Hindi kasi lahat ng tao nabibigyan, nakatanggap ng SAP, or ng ayuda galing sa gobyerno.
Now, I am not sure if social distancing is effective to curb the spread of the virus. Some people need to find jobs, especially for the poorer of the poor and the poor themselves, as well as the lower-income middle class and the middle class. Since the government officials in the Philippines only support the poorest of the poor, what happens to the rest of the people considering that some industries and businesses have been under quarantine periods?
Regardless of the term lock-down or quarantine, we need to ask. Is social distancing policy effective? In what way it is effective. Please let me know by writing us back!
Source Photo by Ron Chang: