New rise in Covid cases


Rikki Mathay

Just when life has generally returned to normal pre-pandemic, we are now seeing an increase in the cases of coronavirus (Covid) just barely two months after the elections. According to the latest records of the Department of Health, we have a daily average of 434 new cases as we are heading towards 5,000 active cases, some experts said. This is excluding what can only be assumed as a big number of unreported cases as more choose to do self checks at home through the now accessible antigen kits.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines is now seeing another “peak” of infections. Despite the country's "low risk" status, the DOH warns that if the increase continues, we can expect the number of Covid infections to reach 1,200 new cases every day in a matter of a few weeks.

While several of us have cynical views on the reported statistics, I know several friends who are actually part of this new data making this rise in Covid cases a reality rather than mere hearsay.

The government has reached 77.81 percent of the target population of fully vaccinated against Covid, while around 20 percent have received booster shots.

One of my respondents, an athlete who took a trip to Boracay two weeks ago, got her booster shot in January of this year, and is now on her seventh day of being Covid-positive. She and her partner are still experiencing low fever, coughs and shortness of breath even after a round of antibiotics.

Aside from antibiotics, some people are adding alternative supplements to fight the infection. We saw the popularity of herbal medicines particularly Lianhua herbal tea which later came in capsule form. It was only on Aug. 7, 2020 that Lianhua acquired FDA registration to be used as a traditional herbal product that helps remove “heat-toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose.”

Another popular- and probably the most controversial- "supplement" has been Ivermectin (IVM). At the beginning of the pandemic, sale and distribution of ivermectin was even made punishable by law. As initial doubts on the long-term adverse effects of the Covid vaccines stirred up fear among the population, ivermectin was a low-cost and accessible alternative to many.

This remains a topic up for debate as most doctors continue to refuse administration of ivermectin for Covid patients due to the  lack of definitive studies proving the effectiveness of said medicine against Covid. Many Filipinos, however, remain faithful to advocating ivermectin swearing by their personal experiences of how the medicine alleviated their viral symptoms, and shortened their hospital stay, and many of these advocates continue to refuse vaccination in favor of regularly taking ivermectin.

Amid ongoing debates on ivermectin warranting further investigation for possible benefits to humans, another "supplement" said to fight Covid infection that has gained popularity in the past months is glutathione, which is used by thousands of Filipinos who want to have fairer skin. Glutathione, an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables and protects cells from damage, has been readily available online and over the counter and promises to deliver fairer skin with continued use. Now here is some good news for gluta users. Research made by the Baylor College of Medicine said how oxidant levels spiked among Covid positive patients while their natural gluta levels decreased. New studies now suggest that the use of a combination of glutathione has been known to reduce oxidants while increasing glutathione in the body.

The "battle" against Covid seems to be taken less seriously nowadays. Even movie houses have been packed with the insouciant attitude when it comes to keeping facemasks on and practicing physical distancing. But remember that it is still best to consult your physicians once you test positive no matter what "supplements" you have added to your lifestyle. As symptoms seem to be less aggressive now which is highly attributed to the global vaccination efforts, the impending gravity of where this rise in cases will lead is still left to be seen.