Question of ‘when,’ not ‘if’

Published August 4, 2021, 12:02 AM

by Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal


Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal

That’s been pretty much my attitude and mindset when it comes to COVID-19. It may sound weird and defeatist, but it actually helps me be better prepared and alert.

Many eyebrows will probably be raised over why we should adopt the mindset that getting the virus is not a matter of “if,” but “when?”  At first glance, it might sound like you already gave up, but it has the opposite effect.  In fact, it’s a way to better prepare ourselves against the virus.  It makes us more aware, and in many instances, more alert.

My view is that, if we’re not even sure that we can get the virus, we could get complacent, let our guard down.  We use statistics and convince ourselves that we will be able to dodge the virus;  convincing ourselves that there are millions of Filipinos and the chances of you contracting the virus is extremely low.  “How can I get it?  I’m careful!”  “I don’t go out, so how can I get the virus?”  There are countless of scenarios we can think of to justify why we won’t get the virus.

This also includes the hesitancy of some Filipinos to get vaccinated, because they believe they won’t get infected by the virus.  I’ve spoken with some people, and the reason they tell me they don’t want to get vaccinated, is the low probability of getting infected.  Thus, the complacency, vaccine hesitancy, etc. could stem from the (mistaken) belief that it could never happen to them.

We cannot ignore the fact that we regularly see news of friends, relatives and their relatives or friends who not only got infected, but worse, succumbed to the virus on our newsfeeds.  We read people asking why their loved ones got infected, despite “not going out of the house,” “following health protocols,” “wearing a face mask and face shield whenever they go out,” etc.?  And yet, most people are seemingly shocked upon learning that people they know have contracted the virus.  But the virus is here, and it is spreading.

Internalizing that it is only a matter of time before we contract the virus is the better mindset. Why?  Simple.  It serves as a constant reminder not to let our guard down – not  only for ourselves, but especially for our loved ones.  We should always have their health and safety in our mind.

Not only that.  If we know that we can get the virus when we least expect it, there is a sense of urgency to get vaccinated as a measure of protection against the virus.  Yes, it may not be 100 percent protection, but it will minimize the probability of death or serious illness in case of infection.

I understand that people are getting tired of constant lockdowns, couched in confusing terms, and all too often revisions and flip-flopping. The human need to connect with others comes strongly now, more than ever. But a few more sacrifices are entailed, a delayed gratification of sorts in the belief that, eventually, we will get rid of this horror if only we are constantly on our guard. Having the mindset that we could get infected when we least expect it, is a constant reminder to be alert.  A reminder that we follow health protocols.

We need to be alert, especially during these days when the Delta variant of the virus is spreading across the Philippines. That means anticipating that one could get it, so it is best that you are ready to battle COVID-19 vaccinated.

Stay Safe. Stay healthy.  Wear a mask.  Please get yourself vaccinated.