Flatening the Curve
THE PUBLIC went blind into life under lockdown, with little guidance about how they were supposed to manage the loss of daily wages on which so many Filipinos were dependent for their survival. There was little said about what to expect after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which had been set to end on April 30 but was reset for May 15.
As in previous weeks, media reports focused on the count of cases mostly in Metro Manila. These also provided updates on measures implemented by government at all levels. Media also tracked the distribution of monetary assistance to needy families.
By mid-April, the media still fixed reporting mainly based on what government had to say about what it was doing. But government itself was in a state of confusion and cluelessness about what it could or should do to turn things around, and clearly at this point had little to show for their efforts, as cases continued to mount.
Media mentioned but did not go into detail about the different approaches to quarantine; perhaps, because the president and DOH did not seem to be considering these options.
Joey Concepcion, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, pitched the idea of “selective quarantine.” The UP Pandemic Response Team suggested the “graduated activation” depending on the conditions in certain areas. The lockdown may have slowed down the spread of the disease, but extending it indefinitely was not sustainable, as it would lead to economic collapse which would complicate further the problems caused by the disruption. Lawmakers referred to the proposition of partial lifting put forward by the UP School of Economics.
Although the IATF was intended as a policy-coordinating body, officials ended up contradicting each other about what they were doing, suggesting that the administration had yet to agree on the core issues.