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Counting numbers, whether up or down, may well have to be endured in the coming days and weeks for us here in Baguio, besieged as we are by the continued, unrelenting spread of Covid-19. The tally as of Friday lists up 30 confirmed cases, 16 of whome remain active, while 13 have spiritedly recovered. The death toll stands at a lonesome, but gladsome, single solitary soul — bless her — in a little over 6 weeks of the coronavirus onslaught.

From this list, there are 224 suspect cases in varying degrees of infection who are in facility or home care isolation, while 1,074 possible cases are being monitored in the course of a 14-day home quarantine. There is reason to sense that while we have held down what could have been worse, we have progressed considerably in determining that so much more remains to be done, in a quicker way than ever imagined. Over a thousand individuals are still being monitored to this day, indicating that the virus may have been hosted in significant number of human bodies, replicating fast enough to inflict further danger in a small community like ours. Hardly reassuring indeed.

But, by and large, as compared to the national tally, Baguio seems to be succeeding in its herculean effort to keep the people generally out of harm, to keep everyone singularly well-protected. Anytime of day, we should take this small triumph for what it is. There is robust hope that this level and pace of progress is shining through the gigantic collective struggle against the dreaded disease. In more ways than one, it demonstrates an astounding sense of self-discipline that city folks have done since March 13 when Baguio marched into a unique war against an unseen enemy. Into the merry month of May, we get on with our life, made extraordinary by the times we live in, restricted from the usual liberties we have been used to, regulated from the regular ways by which we exist and co-exist.

Credit this to the frontliners who served in the forefront of the war, principal among them our own Mayor Benjie who stood out in absolute command and control of the frightening situation, unfazed by a challenge unlike any other, undaunted by the suddenness of it all. Commanding has not been a simple walk in the park, so to speak, since everyone around him, no doubt leaders like him, had to breathe out the same energetic, decisive, toughened fresh air the times required, not just in spurts, but in huge doses.

Credit this to those who manned the health caring system meticulously put in place — our doctors, nurses, medical technologists, nursing aides, and other medical personnel who have been braving the odds in serving humanity at every twist and turn, mindless of the risks at hand, heedless of the peril to themselves, all done beyond the call of duty. A number of them have succumbed, themselves infected as a matter of course to a virus so sly, so deceptive, so deadly. Upon recovery, they are back to the frontlines, manning their posts and serving others in so amazing an extraordinary spirit.

Credit this to the law enforcers out in the street, manning checkpoints in every which way purposely to make sure that travelling from point to point remains absolutely restricted to the very essential function and need. They are doing a task so thankless under the heat of a summer sun or the cold of a passing rain, mindful only to get their job done in utmost courtesy and consideration, yet firm and resolute whenever called for.

Well into this month, it becomes ore imperative for us to keep in mind the continuing urgency of staying faithful to being very much in the fight against the virus. There is expectancy that the continued ECQ hereabouts shall not go beyond the 15-day benchmark.
Back to normal? That’s not going to happen. The new way is the new normal, a far off the way we’ve been used to, liberties and all, freedoms and all, recklessness and all.

That means having to be social by being anti-social, isn’t it? That means greeting each other, not by the high fives we readily break into, but by just the fist-bump, elbow-thud we’ve been seeing of late. That means breaking into friendly smiles held from view because of facemasks half-shielding our good ol’face. That means staying together while staying apart, staying at home while working just the same, staying spirited while without the spirited intoxicants.

Tough times indeed, but for a community like ours, it’s not unlike we’re stranger to such times. Our history of more than a hundred years is replete with lessons hard-learned for all the stubborn, nearly hard-headed way we have met and overcome challenges, our founding years, our growing up years, the last war against an occupying force, our recovery years, our natural disaster years, our rehabilitation years. They all collate the mighty struggle waged to rise above challenges, enough to inspire us anew and afresh to rise above this one.

How resilient we are will certainly be put to the test in the coming days, no less motivated to get things going after the next two weeks. A golden reminder should serve us well as we head up further in these extraordinary times, when extraordinary acts are well-needed, when extraordinary behavior is most deserving to meet an extraordinary situation made continuously afflictive by the raging health emergency.

It is said that those who dare stand to succeed more than those who remain cocooned in the safety of zones now made into a battlefield of wills and won’ts. Meantime, let’s get things going by protecting ourselves. It’s always the best way of saving others.