Dr. Edsel Salvana

Exposing the false prophets of Covid-19 doom

As the most recent wave of Covid-19 infections begins to subside, it is instructive to review how the battle against the virus was won and how misinformation continues to cause a lot of harm. This latest spike in cases was not an exception to the continued confusion sown by some self-proclaimed experts. Despite legitimate health experts and officials from the Department of Health stating that healthcare utilization was low and that there was no need to resort to new restrictions, some independent pandemic analysts of dubious expertise persisted in their panic mongering by citing flawed metrics and brazenly contradicting official government assessments and advice. Their unscientific reports were carried by sensationalist media outlets and unfortunately led to some local governments unnecessarily reinstating pandemic restrictions. Some schools even reverted to online classes in a knee-jerk response to this bad advice.

Exiting the pandemic

Exiting the pandemic, and why an increase in cases is not unexpected

We all woke up last week to the announcement that the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the emergency phase of the pandemic is at an end. Despite this determination, the occasional upticks in case numbers continue to sow anxiety among our traumatized populace. The significant increase in cases in the last two weeks has not even approached the case numbers of Delta and Omicron, and yet several schools have declared a pause to face-to-face classes. Coupled with alarmist news reports and an unhealthy obsession with obsolete positivity rate metrics bandied about by pseudo-experts, these knee-jerk reactions cause more harm than good.

Another Covid outbreak? Fake news

Last week, many anxious people messaged me for comment when a major newspaper plastered a headline on their online page stating, “IATF raises Covid-19 alert level in most parts of the Philippines; some restrictions in effect.” Coupled with the modest increase in cases following Holy Week and the residual paranoia from lockdowns, this inaccurate headline spawned all sorts of fake news. Alarmist messages including the usual anonymous Viber posts that hospital X was full again and that the latest Covid-19 variant Y was going to kill us all went viral (no pun intended).

Revisiting TED

One of the things I was looking forward to this year was going back to the TED conference in Vancouver this month.