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Virus spike top worry

Imee Marcos
Imee Marcos

SENATOR Imee Marcos said the government must first deal with the imminent spike in Covid-19 cases that could reach 4,000 cases per day, as health experts have warned.

“Mass vaccination is still months away and EUAs (emergency use approvals) are still pending. The first order of battle should be to prevent a runaway infection rate due to forthcoming fiestas and reduced hospital capacities amid staffing changes taking place in January,” Marcos said.

After the Feast of the Black Nazarene last Saturday, the observance of social distancing will be tested further by more crowd-drawing fiestas in coming days like the Ati-Atihan in Aklan, the Dinagyang in Iloilo, and the Sinulog in Cebu, as well as the Panagbenga in Baguio come February, Marcos pointed out.

The DOH itself has also said that health care capacities will be compromised by staffing changes, end-of-contract breaks, and a possible non-renewal of job orders in hospitals.

Marcos added that repeated backlogs in reporting Covid-19 test results have blurred the picture of the country’s present infection rate, causing public complacency.

“Let’s start recruiting additional doctors, nurses and medical volunteers to reinforce health care capacities, in lieu of a medical reserve corps that remains unrealized,” Marcos said.

Marcos had pushed for the creation of a medical reserve corps in June last year through Senate Bill 1592, but the measure has not been prioritized.