AS THE second year of the Covid-19 pandemic draws to a close, the country appears to have achieved what were seemingly impossible only months before: dwindling cases of the disease, decreasing hospitalization numbers, reopening the economy. And finally, a “normal” Christmas season—normal, at least, by the pandemic’s standards. But to wholly enjoy the holiday season (and make it last), it is essential to look back, do a bit of personal retrospection, and recall all of the best moves, while discarding the poorer ones, that got us to where we are right now.

Vaccination remains to be the best strategy in getting a ticket back to normalcy. Recent studies from health experts and biologists suggest that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) might be here to stay and society will eventually learn to live with it like other endemic viruses such as the common cold and flu. The country has fully vaccinated over 46 million Filipinos; this is about a third of the target herd immunity. For the second round of national vaccination, the government is eyeing to administer seven million more vaccine doses to bring the total fully vaccinated population to 54 million.

During this most wonderful time of the year, the best gift you can give to your family members is to get protected against Covid-19. In that way, there will be no spoilers to the noche buena, photo opportunities, and general jolly mingling.

The new alert level system, initially piloted in Metro Manila back in September before its nationwide implementation the following month, has allowed for local government units to target high-risk areas while releasing from the lockdown the different commercial establishments and enabling economic and recreational activities to resume. Once more, malls welcomed their patrons with holiday sales while parks and city grounds have reopened to the public and are lit up with shimmering Christmas lights and bright-colored parol. 

One can only imagine how the situation could have been different had this system been implemented by the national pandemic task force earlier. But then again the pandemic has been one big game of trial-and-error; whether the government has more hits than misses only time will tell. The test of sustainability, however, begins now.

While the improving pandemic situation is truly a cause for celebration this Christmas, complacency should not be invited back into our households nor our hearts, and should be best left at the front door. The Delta surge back in August feels like ages ago, but the horrific memory of 20,000 daily cases and overwhelmed hospitals and health workers linger, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant, which has been tagged as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. While those fully protected against Covid-19 and those who have received booster shots may less weight off one’s mind, there is still a big population out there with no protection yet. The hard-earned lessons from the Delta variant should serve as a cautionary tale lest we trigger another wave due to the negligence in following basic and minimum health and safety protocols.

The Bible reminds us to “be sober, be vigilant” for “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” While the thief Jesus Christ is referring to in the Gospel of John is demonic in nature, just the same, the pandemic has robbed thousands of jobs, killed millions of lives, and destroyed the hope of even more than we can ever fathom. 

This Christmas, we should look back and meditate on the year that has been and the year that is to come. Let us delight in the reunion of family and friends while making sure to still wear masks and observe physical distancing whenever necessary. Let us enjoy the reopening of public spaces while still being responsible to public health by getting vaccinated and/or “boosted.” And above all, let us remember the true reason for the season. Because while we may have many troubles in this world, we take heart and know peace for our Savior has overcome evil and all its wages including disease and death and renewed the world.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.