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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, May 20, 2020
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The COVID and the elephant

Ninfa Leonardia

If there is anything good that has come out of the coronavirus plague, it is the fact that people have become more inventive about ways, not only to control the disease, but also to help those who are working on how to eliminate it and save future generations, via a vaccine that will put an end, the way other diseases have been erased through them. And it is very heartening to note that people are doing their best to help, even if they are not medical professionals themselves.

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Some may find this funny, but when I think of how people worldwide are reacting to the COVID-19, I remember the story of the blind men and the elephant. I am sure many of my generation remember it. You know, the one where six blind men were introduced to the elephant and asked how they would describe it after making them touch the beast? As the story went, the first caught hold of its side and exclaimed, “Oh, the elephant is like a wall”. The next touched its leg and said, “Ah, the elephant is like a tree”. Then the one following him got hold of the tail and said, “I swear, the elephant is like a rope”. After him the next announced, having touched the trunk, “The elephant is like a snake!”

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The rest did their touching, with one saying “Believe me, the elephant is like a fan,” having caught hold of its ear. The group left the zoo still arguing about what the elephant looked like, and, of course all were correct, as far as the part they touched were concerned. Since the elephant, though not blind, could not speak, no one dared to correct them. We, too, can be like blind men when we stick hardheadedly to our own views about things we do not fully understand. Have you been a blind man lately?

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I hope that will not be the way the two big units, the United States and Europe are planning their approach to the coronavirus. But to one of their plans, I agree fully. That is the move to set up a financing system to help their economies recover from the devastation wrought by this virus. In a way, I think what they are planning is similar to what the Philippine government did after the Second WORLD War, which was to set up banks, like the former Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, later renamed the Development Bank of the Philippines, that provided easy interest loans to businesses, industries, corporations, and to those who lost their homes, for them to recover. Will the Philippines be a beneficiary of such assistance? Let us hope so because, our country and people have also been devastated by it.

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As for the still stubborn virus, have you heard that the president of the United States has admitted that he is taking regularly the medicine Hydrochloroxine that had been used to cure victims of SARS? Sorry, I forgot its full name, but hasn’t anyone warned him about self-medication? Ah, he is president, so no one can order him around. Let him be. But there is said to be a vaccine called “Moderna” that some doctors claim to be “promising”. Not to make a bad joke, but what does it “promise,” Recovery or death?

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I hope the two big giants stop pointing fingers at each other at this time and work together to find a solution to the COVID problem. Until now, the United States and China seem to be blaming each other for the spread of the virus that, come to think of it, did originate in Wuhan, a city in China. Why don’t they pool their best scientists and medical experts and make them concentrate on, first a cure, and then a vaccine? The world already knows the truth, that indeed, the thing came from China. The focus now should be on how to counter it.

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At last! The country’s Health Secretary was finally seen on TV the other day talking about the ongoing problem. All those past weeks, it was only his undersecretary who was holding the fort, in a manner of speaking. Some people thought he had caught the virus but he looked quite healthy. I didn’t hear him explaining what he had been doing, though. Anyway, he has a very competent and articulate USEC, so it was all right, wasn’t it? Anyway, That is what USECs, or undersecretaries are for, after all.

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So what’s the latest on the ABS-CBN fiasco? Seems Congress has not yet made up its mind whether to act on that franchise, that is, as of this writing. Now that we need information more than ever, we are deprived of one of our favorite and most trusted sources. I hope Congress, I mean its members, get guilty consciences and do their job as soon as possible. Could it have done so at the time of this writing? Or do they have their own grudges against the network? I hope they prove this is not true.*

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