Depressing and distressing numbers

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In the last couple of weeks leading to today, the sky is kind of gloomy and depressing as far as our region’s fight against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is concerned. Pardon the pun but there appears to be no positive development in sight for us Western Visayans given the distressing numbers that stared us right in the face this past week.

Let us start with the data culled by the Department of Health Regional Office 6 in its daily Regional Case Bulletins. Figures reflected in the RCBs from June 7 to 13 show that the region had a total weekly new cases haul of an astounding 4,899, which is the highest since this whole thing started in March last year. In fact, the weekly numbers since seven weeks ago aren’t comforting in any way, even enough reason for some to just hole themselves up in their homes until this pandemic dies a natural death (I hope).

Consider this: from a ‘measly’ 1,928 new cases in April 19-25 to 2,017 new cases in April 26-May 2, the numbers kept growing: 2,239 new cases in May 3-9; 2,457 new cases in May 10-16; 2,510 new cases in May 16-23; 3,136 new cases in May 24-30; 4,355 new cases in May 31-June 6; and eventually 4,866 new cases in June 7-13. That’s seven straight weeks that the new cases count is on a significant uptick, and there’s no saying when this will actually end.

Meanwhile, per province or highly-urbanized city, almost every single one is experiencing a surge in new cases, most notable among them Iloilo Province and Bacolod City, which both had the region’s first four-digit new cases count right in the same week. Iloilo’s numbers broke previous records in terms of the weekly new cases count with a staggering 1,049 new cases when the previous high was ‘just’ 951. The same is true with their cross-channel neighbors in Bacolod City, which this week posted a mind-boggling 1,009 new cases when their previous weekly high was a ‘mere’ 841. This avalanche of cases makes us completely forget that only several months ago, in the week ending March 14 to be exact, the City of Smiles only had 4—yes, FOUR—new cases for the entire week!

Also posting new record-highs in terms of new cases this past week are Iloilo City with 916 (the previous high was last week’s 738) and the provinces of Guimaras with 135 (previous high 55), and Aklan with 442 (previous high was 322).

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Meanwhile, and this for me is the saddest part, this past week also saw the highest single-week death toll in Western Visayas since I started monitoring the weekly COVID-19 count on a daily basis.

Just when I thought the consecutive weekly death tolls of 79, recorded in two straight weeks from the period May 24 to June 6, had already reached its peak, and we were in for a rebound of sorts, Sunday evening’s stats had another thing going for me and made it quite hard for me to sleep.

You see, from my own experience monitoring the region’s weekly COVID-19 figures for close to a year now, by the end of the week the deaths kind of ‘rests’ even for a day. It’s either no deaths for the last day of the week or ‘just’ one or two fatalities, which is actually a lot better given the death toll of days past.

But when I saw the fatalities for the day which was eight (certainly at least four times more than the usual Sunday death count), I knew right away that we had a new high in terms of weekly death toll here in the region at 80. Sad, really, distressing even!

Honestly, I don’t even know if these numbers would make people think a whole lot more before they go out of their homes and unnecessarily expose themselves to the possibility of getting infected, but I hope those who read this always have a sense of protecting themselves from the risk of infection. You only have one life to live; protect yourself and your loved ones from certain harm that this still-evolving and deadly virus brings.

You sure don’t want to add to the COVID-19 death count here in Region 6, which is now at 1,285 fatalities and, if you don’t conscientiously observe at least minimum health standards in everything you do, it could swell even more to unprecedented levels.

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