ON our 110th day of different degrees of lockdown, any unbiased observer would rationally conclude this administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic could be graded 7 to 8, in a scale in which 10 is perfect.
I didn’t pull this grading from out of the blue. Going by worldometers.info’s data and tabulation, the number of Covid-19 cases for the planet’s 7.7 billion population is 1,386 per 1 million population. That’s four times of ours, which is 351. For deaths per 1 million population, it is 67 for the world; ours is just 12.
Check out the accompanying table and we’re obviously doing much, much better than the United States, United Kingdom, Italy as well as most of Western and Eastern European countries.
We’re doing better than Indonesia. But Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and, of course, Vietnam’s performance have been spectacular. Can you believe that Vietnam has only 355 cases and no deaths?
These figures, however, all mean that the government’s performance is not just average but at least two notches higher than average, which would be 7 to 8. The 9 and 10 grades are obviously for Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam.
Which brings up to what should be the top concern now of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), which is to determine — and tell the public — why we still haven’t been able to contain Covid-19 on the level that Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam have done.
Reprinted below is a June 24 article from the Japan Times titled “The low-tech way that Japan managed to tackle the virus quickly” which I hope could contribute to the IATF-EID’s efforts.
What I found promising is that the “low-tech” way discussed in this article is simply contact-tracing, undertaken through Japan’s 450 community-level “public health centers.”
We have a similar institution, called the Barangay Health Center, which had been mandated to be set up in each of our over 40,000 barangay by a Marcos letter of instruction in 1973. While I cannot find data on how many such centers have been set up and actually running, these are ubiquitous in Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces, functioning as most barangay residents’ first point of health service.(more…)