Do not abandon caution

Published May 16, 2021, 12:12 AM

by Dr. Jun Ynares


Dr. Jun Ynares
Dr. Jun Ynares

We laud the move by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to put the so-called NCR-plus bubble out of the MECQ status to the current “GCQ with heightened restrictions.”

The move will now allow economic activities to go on with greater freedom. We believe this is the national government’s response to the clamor among those adversely affected financially by the severe restrictions that come with the MECQ status. The IATF decision is definitely a major boost to the bid of our countrymen in the NCR-plus bubble to be given the chance to work, to operate their businesses and raise more money with which they can put more food at their family’s dinner table.

We also welcome the IATF’s decision to add the phrase “with heightened restrictions” to the bubble’s GCQ status.

The phrase is a reminder to everyone that we must “not abandon caution.”

Yes, we are on GCQ status, but there are restrictions that were not there when we first went into GCQ in the past.

For example, there are certain establishments which are allowed to operate in a GCQ area but not in the NCR Plus. There remains a limit to the number of people which dining establishments can accept for dine-in purposes. Houses of worship will have to continue with the current restriction to the number of people who may attend a religious service or gathering.

We understand that the “heightened restriction” may have invited some protest on the part of certain sectors.

We believe, however, that this is a step in the right direction.

“With heightened restriction” would prevent the sudden resurgence of human activity in the areas where the infection is still raging. We all know that a sudden resurgence of human activity may also mean a sudden surge of COVID-19 virus infections.

From the perspective of local governments, we cannot afford another surge. Our front-liners are suffering from both physical and emotional fatigue in the aftermath of the earlier surge. Our healthcare systems and resources are suffering from a similar fatigue. We need time to replenish the energies of our human and technical resources.

“With heightened restriction” is also a reminder to us that the deadly COVID-19 virus and its variants are still here right in our midst.

Such reminder should help us accept this reality. We suspect that the most recent surge in COVID-19 infections may have been brought about by a false notion that “things are back to normal” when most parts of the country were earlier placed under MGCQ.

It appears there are still a number of people living “in denial” – a state where one hangs on to the belief that the COVID-19 scourge is just a bad dream and that we will all wake up one day to find out it was just a that – a bad dream.

The situation is “bad” and it is not a “dream.” It is a reality – one that is forcing all of us to modify the way we think, the way we conduct our transactions, the way we relate and interact, the way we behave.

“Adaptation” has been the key to the survival of various species throughout the history of man.

It looks like the game is no longer “survival of the fittest,” but “survival of the most adaptive.”

It will be recalled that the pre-historic giants, the Dinosaur, was probably the “fittest” among the creatures that walked the earth. However, their species failed to adapt to the changes that followed. Failure to adapt led to a state called “extinction.”

Being extra-cautious and extra-prudent are the first few steps in our effort to “adapt” to the world where we live in today. The world has changed since a year ago and we must now embrace this change if we are to avert extinction.

One way to adapt is to change the kind of question we most often ask ourselves. When faced with adversity, our usual question is “why.” Why is this happening? Why is this happening to me?

The other question we must ask more often is “how.” How do we adjust to the new environment? How do we adapt our business and social methods to the realities of the present? How may we take advantage of the new realities so we can become better at our game?

A clinical therapist from Purdue University, Theresa Nutten, provides us with some tips on how to level up our ability to adapt.

She wrote:

The (pandemic) situation is both uncertain and temporary. It’s okay not to feel okay. It’s also okay – and encouraged – to seek help and support.

 Consider this a time to reflect on who you want to be during this time (of the pandemic).

Focus on what is within your control.

Adjustment is a process that is not linear nor well-defined. Patience and flexibility are really important.”

Prudence and caution are part of the exercise of patience. Recklessness is an expression of impatience with the steps that are necessary to keep us out of danger.

We encourage everyone not to abandon caution and prudence. Danger still lurks. It is up to us to stay out of harm’s way.