Opinion

No time to relax

No time to relax

Yes, Juan and Juana, the COVID curve has flattened. What this means, according to experts from the University of the Philippines OCTA Research, is that transmission of the SARS-coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 has slowed down.

And while cases will continue to be reported, with the total projected to hit from 330,000 to 375,000 by the end of the month, recoveries are also considerable, so the real number of active cases is also gradually shrinking, according to UP professor Guido David of the OCTA team.

That’s still tens of thousands of infections, however, with the continuing potential to worsen. Both the OCTA researchers and the government’s pandemic team are warning that the much-anticipated flattening of the COVID curve, now that it is actually happening, is no time to relax one’s guard.

Even with vaccine development now happening in record time, the mass release of a safe and efficacious COVID vaccine is still months away. The same goes for research on a cure for the killer coronavirus disease 2019.

The reputable major pharmaceutical companies overseas are still on the third, widespread phase of clinical testing on their COVID vaccines, which is required before approval of their product for mass distribution. Even if the United States does roll out a vaccine by November, its citizens will get priority in immunization. The same goes for other countries that are racing to produce their own vaccines.

Countries such as the Philippines with no local development of a vaccine will have to wait in line. Such countries will have to continue ramping up capabilities for speedy and accurate COVID testing, effective contact tracing, isolation and treatment.

Until a properly tested vaccine or cure is out, the flattening of the COVID curve is no reason for relaxing public health protocols. People must still wear face masks and shields in public places, wash hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol or disinfectant, observe cough and sneeze etiquette, and maintain physical distancing, unnatural as it may be. SARS-CoV-2 is still out there, looking for hosts, and ready to kill.