COVID-19 by the number and by the letter

OPINION
By IGNACIO BUNYE
July 15, 2021

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We sadly learned that fatalities arising from COVID-19  has just breached  the “tragic milestone” of 4 million mark.  Wikipedia, quoting WHO,  reports that the United States led with 606K, closely followed by Brazil, 529k  and India, 405K. 
    
Other countries which over 100,000 deaths  included the following:  Russia (138K), United Kingdom (128K), Italy (128K) France (111K), and  Colombia (111K).
    
Countries below 100K but over 50K  included: Poland (75K), South Africa (63K),  Indonesia (62K) and  Ukraine (54K).
    
Surprisingly, China where COVID-19 was first reported  had only 4,636 fatalities, which is even lower than the Philippines’ 25,196. Does that mean that the Chinese Sinovac is much better than other vaccines? Or  is China  fudging its figures?
    
Japan had 14,848. Still Japan’s  Prime Suga has declared a state of COVID-19 emergency in Tokyo.  Australia had 910. But Sydney is now implementing the following health measures. 1) Outdoor public gatherings limited to 2 people.  2) People must stay within 10 kilometers of home.  3) Browsing in shops is prohibited. 4) Only one person per household per day may leave the home for shopping. 5) Funerals limited to 10 people. 
    
Vietnam had only 102 fatalities but is not taking any chances. The government has postponed the Vietnam SEA Games to 2022 due to Covid-19 woes.  
    
Singapore and Brunei reported the lowest fatalities with 36 and 3, respectively. 
    
While the vaccine supplies lasted, the City of  Manila  went all out on a vaccination  splurge, jabbing 125,598 in 3 days. Manila registered its highest  single day vaccination at 43,011.  But I guess that will have to slow down. Metro Manila LGUs are suspending for two weeks  the vaccination of first-timers due to the delayed arrival of new supplies. 
    
First it was Alpha ( detected in the UK), followed by Beta (detected in South Africa)  then Gamma (detected in Brazil).  And now, Delta (detected in India).  These Greek letters are used by scientists  to designate the different  variants of COVID-19.  Some variants are designated either as  Variants of Interest  or Variants of Concern. These variants supposedly will respond differently to the  standard medication.  Some variants are deadlier than others. What should concern us most is how to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Let us not be choosy about the vaccine brand. Getting vaccinated is still better than having no vaccination at all. Meanwhile, whether vaccinated or not, we should always observe proper   health protocols – wearing face mask and face shields, physical distancing  and frequent and proper washing of hands. 
Ayala Young Leaders Congress
    
Eighty-four young leaders from colleges and universities all over the country gathered for the first-ever virtual Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) on July 3. 
    
AYLC was launched in 1998 as the Ayala group’s flagship youth development program to nurture commitment, foster patriotism and idealism,  and encourage faithful stewardship among young Filipinos.  The annual leadership summit , which is now on its 23rd year, will be held online over the next five weeks. 
    
Explained AYLC Program Director and Ayala Chief HR Officer John Philip Orbeta: “We decided that now, more than ever, the formation of servant leaders is both relevant and compelling.” Continuing the AYLC  amidst the pandemic , he explained, entailed new approaches  to the program design from nominations to selection to execution  to “make sure that the online AYLC has all the elements that make the Congress a life-changing experience”.
    
“We have themed this first-ever online AYLC as “Leaders Reimagining Hope”. We believe that all of you in this AYLC cohort are certainly capable of bringing hope to others especially during this difficult and challenging time,” said Ayala President and CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala in welcoming this year’s delegates. “We trust that you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn and connect with  others and find ways to magnify your positive impact.”
    
“As young people, there are so many things that we see in our society that we want to change,” said Pasig Mayor Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” Sotto. Sotto, 32,  spoke of his journey in public service and shared his thoughts on preparing one’s self for leadership in whatever field , including clarifying intentions, building competency through knowledge and experience, knowing and staying true to one’s purpose, and creating a network of people with aligned values and commitment.
Kiwanis Club of Muntinlupa Rizal
    
The Kiwanis Club of Muntinlupa Rizal (KCMR), my home club, recently unveiled a commemorative marker at the Tunasan Elementary School, one of the club’s adopted schools. 
    
Tunasan ES, under Principal Jennifer S. Joson, has been the recipient of 150 Globe pre-paid wifi gadgets to assist students in their online learning. The milestone event was witnessed by Kiwanis Philippine Luzon District Governor  Mauro M. Cocjin, Kiwanis 4-D Lt. Governor Flordeliza “Baby” Ruiz, and KCMR officers and members led by President Larry Molera, President-Designate Richard Ordoñez, Past District Governor Boy Valencia, Director Myra Santos, Past Presidents Dante Corpuz, Greg Banlasan, Randy Garcia,  Hector Manalo and Past Lt. Governor Toting Bunye.  
    
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