The month started out promising enough with vaccine roll-out finally commencing and Dr. Gap Legaspi of UP-PGH receiving the first legal Sinovac dose. With his example, vaccine hesitancy among HCWs diminished and they got themselves vaccinated with Sinovac too. My own HCW relatives, who at first opted to wait for other vaccine brands, likewise accepted Sinovac when it became available to them. Personally, I also wouldn't say no to Sinovac after seeing the people I trust take it and consuming information on Covid vaccines [TLDR: All Covid-19 vaccines provide 100% protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death].
But then a few days later, a cousin was rushed to the hospital and we had to chip in for his hospital fees because it easily reached mid-six figures in his first few days in the ER and ICU. My cousin was just starting out in a government position so I don't think he was eligible for their HMO yet. His mother also couldn't raise the cash right away because most of her assets were tied up in real estate. She needed a few days to a few weeks to take out a loan or sell some property to raise cash.
I visited my cousin in the hospital when he could already receive visitors and it was nice to see him with his spirits up again. However, he developed a fever 2 days after my visit and was declared covid positive a few days after that. I had myself tested even if I wasn't experiencing any covid-like symptoms and thankfully my husband and I both tested negative. Those days waiting for our appointment and if we'll develop symptoms were probably the most anxious-filled days I've had in recent history.
Presently, we're back in ECQ because of the rapid rise in infection rates, but it's no longer the same hardline ECQ of the first round of lockdowns last year and it's only for a week. This now begs the question of how effective this 1 week ECQ will be in curbing the rising infection rates. However, maybe it's the eternal optimist in me because I really do see the light at the end of this covid tunnel. More vaccines are coming, with 20M doses of Moderna coming in by middle of the year spearheaded by ICTSI's Enrique Razon. The LGUs and private sector are also being their reliable selves once again, so it's just a matter of time before we can reach our daily vaccination goal of 200k individuals with their leadership. Kelangan lang talaga to get those blasted vaccines to our shores.
Despite the craziness of this month, I'm still walking away from it with two valuable lessons: First, masks really work in preventing infection.
I was in my cousin's hospital room for about 30 minutes. I removed my face shield during this time but kept my mask on. He tested covid negative when he was admitted to the hospital, so covid infection was the last thing on my mind. However, he and his caregivers (who also wore masks) still got infected one way or another, which is why masking and not staying in an enclosed space for more than 30 minutes must go hand in hand to minimize infections.
The second lesson for the month is the importance of universal health care, health insurance and having enough cash on hand or easy to access assets in times of an emergency.
My cousin's mother opted to buy plots of land whenever she came into money, probably because of the belief that land prices will always go up. However, while having lots of real estate might look good on paper (Hello haciendera!), they're very difficult to dispose of, specially in a short period of time. Which is why emergencies usually lead to bargain basement realty prices. Thus, it's of the utmost importance to keep a sizable amount of money in a bank account (i.e. your emergency funds) or in other easy to liquidate assets to answer for such types of emergencies. Or at the very least, they will buy you time while you sell of some of your real estate or wait for the results of your loan applications.*
As for universal health care, let us just pray for that to happen in our lifetime or our children's lifetime. And let's lobby our lawmakers for it while we're at it.
There are only two more days left in March, so keep safe, stay put if you can and do take the vaccine when it's offered to you.
* If you need to take out a loan, check out this very informative post from Pawn Hero which compares pawnshop loans with the different other types of loans.