MANILA, Philippines — My latest expertise with Covid-19 was definitely removed from nice. But I used to be mentally ready for it, and its medical course was precisely how I imagined it might take. With God’s grace and mercy, it performed out identical to the film in my thoughts.
I’ve lengthy advocated that Covid-19 is one thing we ought to be involved about, struggle and forestall—and never concern. Fear, phobia, paranoia, and panic are the mindsets that nourish Covid-19 and make it thrive.
Observe the international locations which have prevailed over this pandemic: New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam, amongst others. Their mindset is struggle, forestall, don’t concern.
Now observe the international locations which have unwittingly nurtured a mindset of concern and helplessness, and see how badly they’re faring. Unfortunately, the Philippines is amongst them.
A easy mindset determines how a inhabitants will behave, act, or react towards the pandemic.
Victor or victim? It’s a alternative we’re free to make, a alternative primarily based on our mindset. We don’t even need to determine on the next steps to take, as our mindset predetermines how we’ll react to the numerous conditions that can ultimately confront us.
The virus has been feeding on our exaggerated concern, which causes us to fumble in decision-making and to fall prey as a society not solely to its bodily ravages but additionally to its far-reaching socio-economic, psychological and political penalties.
Once we concern the virus and really feel helpless towards it, then we now have been defeated earlier than we can even arrange ourselves to struggle it.
I imagine Covid-19 has been overrated. Yes, it’s extra infectious and lethal than the seasonal flu. But with a agency resolve to struggle and forestall it, we might have realized that even with no vaccine, we can scale back its infectiousness and virulence to a stage near these of the extraordinary flu and pneumonia, which really kill extra Filipinos on a yearly foundation.
By strictly sporting masks and face shields and observing bodily distancing, we can scale back its transmission charge by as a lot as 97 %. With different precautions, we can additional push the speed to 99 %.
Those who get contaminated could also be handled with pure medication that can enhance the immune system, and we can enhance the medical course and consequence in addition to scale back deaths by some 80 %.
The bonus: We additionally scale back prevalent infections and pneumonia, which stay among the many prime killers in our nation.
How a lot have we overrated Covid-19? Let’s take a look at the statistics. In 2018, primarily based on World Health Organization knowledge, 75,843 Filipinos died as a result of flu and pneumonia. The quantity comprised 12.45 % of the overall deaths in 2018, making flu and pneumonia the third main reason behind demise in the nation in that 12 months.
The figures should not precisely comparable, however only for perspective, for one 12 months because the pandemic breached our borders (as much as Feb. 1), 10,807 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19, together with Covid pneumonia deaths.
We’re sorry for these Covid-19 deaths, however they make up just some 14 % of the variety of Filipinos dying of flu and pneumonia. We have additionally been advocating vaccination for flu and pneumonia, however we now have by no means imposed lockdowns and quarantines for these illnesses.
We have by no means cowered in concern that we would get flu or pneumonia. We have by no means allowed our economic system and the nationwide consciousness to be held hostage by any virus inflicting flu and pneumonia.
Let me emphasize: The concern and resolve for stopping Covid-19 are absolutely warranted. But the ensuing concern, phobia, paranoia, and panic have gone past limits and resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.
Again, all of it boils all the way down to mindset.
One of God’s biggest presents is our mindset—how we, removed from being robots, can will issues to occur as we imagine and wish them to. Except for strict adherence to the preventive measures, we may have allowed issues to normalize in a calibrated method after the preliminary lockdown.
In our messaging, we may have emphasised how doable it’s to cut back the transmission, hospitalization, and demise charges (and what every of us should do to attain it), moderately than fueled the concern issue and magnified the gloomy outlook.
We may have minimize Covid-19 all the way down to dimension and made everybody understand that it’s not as lethal and unpreventable as pictured.
Some might imagine I’m not in contact with actuality and real-world conditions and conveniently preaching from the security and luxury of my house.
I attempted to stroll my speak about stopping and preventing however by no means fearing Covid-19 and went again to my clinic work and different undertakings on the primary day these had been allowed. I resumed my regular 60-hour workweek, doing three jobs, largely advocacy-related.
Early final month I got here down with extremely symptomatic Covid-19 with a comparatively excessive viral load—too excessive for consolation for a 67-year-old with cardiometabolic points. But with God’s grace, the fever was gone in six hours; the opposite signs (profound weak spot; muscle, nerve, and joint pains; nausea and lack of urge for food) step by step dissipated, and I used to be symptom-free in 48 hours.
My urge for food and vitality had been at my regular ranges in 10 days. I resumed attending on-line conferences, writing, and modifying on Day 8; went again to the workplace on Day 14 as quickly because the isolation was accomplished; and was seeing sufferers head to head by Day 21.
I had set in my thoughts how the illness would run its course in the occasion I received it regardless of my precautions. I began the remedy routine I’ve been advocating the moment I suspected I may need Covid-19.
God gifted us with a mindset, such a potent weapon that we can use in instances like this pandemic, for or in opposition to our profit. Unfortunately, we would have been utilizing it in opposition to our profit, making us fumble and drop the ball now and again.
But it’s by no means too late. We nonetheless have the way forward for the entire nation forward of us.
(Dr. Castillo, a heart specialist at Manila Doctors Hospital, writes a weekly column in Inquirer Lifestyle’s Wellness web page.—Ed)