(I am yielding my space today to a colleague, Professor Bailen, a former UP professor of anthropology. Here, he offers a fresh and complementary perspective to the prevailing techno-medical-healthcare, and recently, the “police/military” approach, in controlling the deadly virus that had caused upheavals in our lives. His is one that focuses on the humane way. Citing passages from the Scripture as well as philosophers and scientists, Bailen proposes the theory of finding meaning and purpose through love, happiness, and satisfying work while one awaits the coming of the vaccine. Due to lack of space, I’ve had to edit some text and footnotes. – FRB)
By Jerome B. Bailen
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind”, Ecclesiastes 1:17 NIV
Attempts to arrest the spread of the COVID-19 virus seem misdirected and have caused loss of resources. Perhaps the strategy to combat, arrest its spread, and treat thevirus, had caused trauma and anxiety. The case of Heherson Alvarez is an example. He was feeling fine days before he died. But when his wife Cecile was discharged and separated from him, his immune system went down. In fact, Cecile’s constitution was weaker as she was a cancer survivor and afflicted with some other medical complications unlike Heherson who had no underlying health condition until struck down with the virus. Cecile took care of him while he was confined at the hospital. Both were confined at the ICU and when they both got better, they were transferred to two separate rooms. Subsequently, the doctors discharged Cecile, leaving Heherson in his private room. Several days later, news of his death circulated in the media.
There is a need to review the map and the social distance strategy because lives of humans are being disrupted, their rights to travel as well, and liberties curtailed in the name of public health. Hundreds of billions of pesos are being spent to combat the COVID-19 for several months now. The government had already borrowed up to P1.22 trillion for the first 4 months to fight the pandemic. The numbers are still increasing and the economy has gone into recession..
Can all people survive the COVID-19 virus? It is estimated that one (1) in about five (5) individuals worldwide could be infected by the virus. Studies also show that there are more people now who are vulnerable to the virus. Older people or those with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to it. And men, more than women, succumb to respiratory failure.
Some human beings were able to survive the COVID-19 pandemic for they are protected or gifted with the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” gift.
Sigmund Freud, when asked what a normal person can do well, responded, “Lieben und arbeiten,” which translates as, “To love and to work.” To be happy, a person must retain the capacity to work and to love. Such functionality must be retained as well as the capacity to work and to love, We must keep a person happy for a contented person has a high immunity level.
A study by Simon McCabe and Michael Daly of the University of Stirling noted that the threat of unemployment could lead people to think more about dying. It revealed that simply thinking about being unemployed could lead to higher levels of death-related thoughts. According to McCabe, “the loss of one’s job threatens a person’s sense of value, purpose, and meaning – factors argued to keep mortality concerns at bay.” He continued: “This was not the case for those who are in a relationship or those who perceive the job market is kept healthy. These could act as ‘safety nets’ that help stop the person from experiencing death thoughts as they provide a backup, a sense of value/or the possibility that re-employment will be achievable.”
Josef Issels, a German researcher, documented that a patient subjected to lost love life had a lower immune system than a healthy person. Patients who found new love had an increased level of immunity. In a loving relationship, a person’s immune system is boosted,
Efforts to control the COVID-19 virus, whose make-up is still unknown, should be revisited to avoid misdirection in the treatment of patients. The COVID-19 virus is less lethal than the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which emerged in 2002 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which had a fatality rate of 34% and which caused the death of 858 people in 27 countries. The COVID-19 virus, which killed 500,000 individuals in six months is more transmissible than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The current strategy of physical distancing, use of face masks and eye protection appears to be the best option adopted. But as the numbers infected and dying from the virus are still increasing, our health systems reaching critical levels, and stacked against older people, people of color, illegal migrants and refugees, many national and world leaders were found wanting. It is like chasing the wind. It must be noted that everyone is exposed to the cold virus which, to date has not been eliminated as no cure as yet been found. Although there are about 17 candidate COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline, it usually takes 10 years to develop a vaccine. The Ebola vaccine took 43 years before it was approved. A decisive and holistic approach is needed to keep a person healthy for a healthy human has a higher immune level. No amount of social distancing, face masks can prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Locking down communities and states cannot guarantee the stoppage of its transmission. Shutting down a state to prevent the transmission casts a heavy burden on human beings, the economy, and governance. Recession of the global economy is now happening. Unless a stimulus is introduced, psychologica depression will be followed by worldwide economic depression which could pose a grave threat to the lives of everyone.
Leaders should provide everyone the chance to work, to love, and to find meaning and purpose. To let them live the way they want so long as they do not impinge upon the fundamental rights of other people. And, since government is created for the individual; it must help put the happiness of the individual at the center of everything.
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