MANILA, Philippines — A health expert believes that the drop in the number of Filipinos observing minimum health protocols, compared to previous months, is due to quarantine fatigue.
In a virtual briefing on Wednesday (Sept.1), Dr. Karl Henson of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) said that aside from the highly transmissible Delta variant, quarantine fatigue is a very likely cause that led to the current surge of coronavirus disease.
“That is very possible po we have been dealing with the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Pinapa-stay natin ang mga tao sa bahay as much as we can. Yung mga bata nasa bahay lang, yung matatanda rin,” Henson said.
“Hindi po mahirap isipin na pagod na pagod na ang tao sa mga public health measures na ito,” he added.
Henson pointed out, however, that this is not the time to be complacent.
“Kaya, ngayon po na merong surge, I think, now is not the time po na mapapagod tayo. I think kailangan po natin ma-remind ulit ang mga tao na importanteng importante po ang pagsunod sa pagsuot ng proper na PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said.
“Delta variant is very transmissible, mas madali po siyang maipasa kaya kailangan natin mag ingat,” he further noted.
Henson said that the amount of the Delta variant of the virus in the nose of an unvaccinated person is 1,000 times higher than its older versions.
“So kapag hindi properly suot ang face mask at face shield, mas madali talaga pong ipasa ang virus. Now, kung samahan pa po yun ng hindi proper yung physical distancing, hindi madalas maghugas ng kamay, so pwede po talagang kumalat nang mabilis ang virus,” he warned.
He said community transmission starts in the family where members become complacent as they mingle with each other sans facemasks and face shields.
Henson also underscored the importance of wearing face shields aside from having proper ventilation, wearing a mask, handwashing, and maintaining physical distancing in protecting one’s self against COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.
“Yung face shields po is actually an extra layer of protection. Habang wala pa po tayong masiyadong maraming datos, ang thought po ng government and experts is by wearing a face shield, meron kayong extra protection,” he said.
Henson said that studies in other countries show that face shields in addition to face masks is effective in preventing transmission of COVID.
“But it should not be face shield on its own. Kailangan po may facemask. Kasi mas importante po na matakapan ang ilong at ang bibig para po hindi malanghap yung COVID. Yung face shield is extra layer of protection lang po,” he said.
While Henson warned the public against complacency amid the pandemic, he also called on the Department of Health and other experts to review other evidence that comes out in responding to the dreaded respiratory virus.
“Sa DOH at sa mga eksperto, kailangan po sigurong ma-review ulit yung evidence baka po kasi may mga bago nang datos that might help improve our recommendations para po mas madaling sumunod ang mga tao dito sa mga minimum public health standards na sinasabi natin,” he said.