Fear factor

Published July 17, 2020, 10:52 PM

by Jullie Y. Daza

MEDIUM RARE

What do you fear most in the time of the 2019 pandemic? In the word pandemic you will see a shorter word, panic.

What I fear most is Other People. They defy the law, common sense, what their eyes and ears are telling them. They belong to the same tribe as the 300-plus persons, mostly men, who were collared Wednesday on the first of Navotas’ 14-day recalibrated lockdown for not wearing masks, for loitering aimlessly and not keeping their distance, for violating curfew hours. (As for washing hands, you can guess why they wouldn’t be the type, seeing as how they appear to have such low self-esteem.) Like the rest of Metro Manila, Navotas has been under quarantine since March. If four months’ practice could not teach them anything, what would?

In another city not far from Navotas, cops were telling a mask-less loiterer that he was under arrest when he turned his head and spat, mercifully not at them, but with such contempt and force that he could’ve unleashed a hurricane of COVID-19 droplets. No wonder there are now  1,000 infected policemen.

If you fear a cop at first sight – his uniform, gun, mask or shield, his comrades-in-arms – you have to fear for him also. He has a family, he has not been home since he and his colleagues are also under quarantine, he could very well be a spreader, too. The idea of a “door-to-door” search for COVID patients by policemen strikes fear in the hearts of the general public but, alas, maybe not that sector who are as stubborn as the recidivists of Navotas who have turned Mayor Toby Tiangco’s hair white.

Why so stubborn? Because they don’t care, it’s not their business to think of others?  The sooner a psychologist can analyze their irrational behavior, the faster we will know how to deal with them and save our community’s energies and resources.

In the meantime, senior citizens – they who have been locked down longer and harder, under stricter rules – are more fearful than they were four months ago. L: “I’m in constant fear of contamination, the longer I’m locked in.” A: “I worry about our mobility as seniors.” T: “I’m afraid my husband is suffering from cabin fever – or is it me, paranoid?“###   

 
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