By Jullie Y. Daza
There’s an emerging disease and it’s coming out of our ears: coronavirus, aka CoVid-19. Each day that passes the news just gets worse. And why are we naming it differently? From the beginning, the international media have been referring to it as coronavirus, and that includes AFP, BBC, CNN, Fox News, Reuters.
As with our weather bureau that has a penchant for naming regional and international typhoons differently from the rest of the world, why’s it that we don’t want our tragedies to be identified with the rest of mankind? For example, “our” supertyphoon Yolanda, for all the massive damage, destruction, and widespread deaths and suffering it wrought, won’t be appearing in tomorrow’s world history books because that’s a local or localized name; whereas the rest of humanity knows and remembers it as Heian, the name that will be in historical documents and records. Will it be the same with CoVid-19?
Someone received 379 texts in one day on her phone. News, the plain facts as well as ruses, tips, comments, even a few jokes about the virus and its consequences were “shared” relentlessly and mercilessly – how’s that for a “more fun in the Philippines” staycation under lock(down) and key in your own house? I’m glad I don’t have 300 friends. One newspaper shared an article with photos of so-called foods with attributes to beat the virus. In exactly the same section and page the next day, the same editor warned against believing that many of those same edibles were useful in the battle against the deadly disease.
With time on my hands and the TV staring back at me, it was upsetting to watch how weary commuters reacted to the “community lockdown that’s equivalent to a total lockdown” (quoting a TV headline quoting a cabinet secretary). One witty sufferer smilingly described his ordeal at the checkpoint where he was stuck for hours just standing and waiting after walking for half a day, as an early penance timed for the Holy Week. As if that was not enough, he added, “it was like the Death March.”
Coverage of the quarantine/lockdown is taking its toll on TV reporters and crews. Only the government channel, it appears, can afford to fill their air time with replays and fillers. ###