Poor seem to be immune to virus, says Duterte, but still must observe health measures

Published September 9, 2020, 4:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Slum dwellers seem to be largely immune to the new coronavirus but should not be “too complacent” and must still observe health measures, President Duterte observed last Monday after highlighting the flattening of the curve in the country.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The President said he has not yet seen any coronavirus infection in the squatter community as he welcomed reports that cases have slowed down while recoveries have soared.

Duterte, in his televised address, noted that the country’s high recovery rate could be attributed either to the country’s warm climate or the constitution of person’s body.

“Filipinos, we have more antibodies in their…Sabagay ‘yung — huwag ho kayong mainsulto kasi totoo naman — pero wala akong nakitang taga-squatter na tinamaan (Filipinos, we have more antibodies… Do not be insulted because it is true. I have not seen a person living in squatters become infected),” he said.

“Maski sa Davao, magtanong ako ng mga bata, wala. Sabi nila, ‘ano ‘yan?’ (Even in Davao, I’ve asked the children there. They replied, ‘What’s that?’) Nary a care about COVID,” he said.

Duterte, former mayor of Davao City, claimed that these people have strengthened their immune system after being exposed to germs while growing up.

“Ito ‘yung lumaki sa ano eh. So all these years from infancy to how old they are now, hinigop nilang lahat ng ano kagaw kaya nagkaroon na sila ng panglaban (They grew up in an environment…So all these years from infancy to how old they are now, they got all the germs so now they gained some defense),” he said.

“Maliit pa, ‘pag lumusot kasi ‘yan sila noong maliit pa nagkasakit five, six, seven, eight, ‘pag lumusot ‘yan ‘pag malaki na ‘yan, matatag ‘yan. Hindi na tinatablan (Because they got sick at age five, six, seven, eight, and recovered, they became stronger when they grew older. They’ve become immune),” he said.

The President, however, appealed to the public to stay vigilant and follow health protocols such as wearing of masks and keeping a safe distance from others. He maintained that there was no room for complacency even as recent scientific data showed the country’s coronavirus curve has flattened.

“Do not be too complacent about it just because you think that you have the antibodies. You might really have the advantage but the law of averages always takes a toll — its toll. Malay mo matamaan ka talaga (You might still get infected),” he said.

The President, in the earlier part of his address, lauded the public for observing health protocols that helped slow down the spread of the virus. 

He also cited that the government’s efforts in promoting public health have paid off.

“The coronavirus curve flattened. Meaning to say that there are now less people with contaminated disease called COVID-19,” he said.