OUTCOME IS IN YOUR HANDS

by: ES TUNG


From today, there will be more testing, if what I saw from a press conference by the Director-General of Health is anything to go by. The number of positives has skipped 10k and headed for 11k instead. We laughed at India and Indonesia. Now they are laughing back at us. Something that should not have happened – the numbers I mean – has.

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But it is to be anticipated. With testing, there is an equal chance of identifying those who are Covid-free and those who are infected but symptomless yet. And with more testing, especially targeted areas, you will find increases. Hell, even if you are being tested (if you are actually Covid-free) you could even be infected while waiting in the queue and turn up again next few weeks glowing like a neon sign!


This is what testing means – whether it is RTK antigen, RT-PCR or today’s introduction of the saliva test. You want to isolate the Covid-infected from the masses so that they do not spread the infection. But the strains currently moving about silently are like those of you who are making quiet, stealthy trips to the supermarkets, carpet shops across the border, or trips to see your granny. If the earlier ones can infect say up to 10 persons in the same area size, one now can probably do 80 morons in the same span. It’s part of clever natural selection.


Friends tell me what the KKM (Ministry of Health) should have done this long ago. Correct.

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But long ago we didn’t have enough test kits. We did not have enough vaccines yet. We also did not have enough testing areas.


But we also did not have enough smart political leaders, remember? They don’t have enough common sense to understand that leadership meant showing unquestionable conduct. Some have breached SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) so many times that you begin to wonder why the entire cabinet rather get themselves stained silly but did not have testicular gumption to call out the trespassers or sack them.


On the ground, many of us do not have enough common sense to stay home when the KKM was pleading with us. If political ambitions sparked at the Sabah Election that eventually became a fiery epidemic out of control, the general populace is also guilty of abetting the crime. Think about it.

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Holiday trips that were not necessary were taken under the guise of helping the beleaguered tourism sector – travel bubble my foot. Insisting on crossing borders to have festive visits in stealth or with a permit and so forth as if you didn’t celebrate this festival you will die. And now you are screaming that factories should open, economy is dying, etc., etc. Why didn’t you think of the consequences any earlier?


But I believe we can still nail this bastard you call Delta, Epsilon, or whatever is coming. Just reduce your desire to go out – even after you are vaccinated because what is out there is replicating. An infected person who has been vaccinated may churn out a variant more deadly – who knows?


This is the thought I always hold in my mind whenever I want to go out to buy groceries once a week. Keeps me on my toes - wear a mask, turn up before the shop is open, and shop quickly and under seven minutes at the most, and take a soapy bath after I come home, and wash the clothes. All these, believe you me, help me curb the desire to go out. So mah-fan (troublesome)!


As for religious obligations, I have not stepped into the Buddhist temple for two years already. There are many online dhamma talks to log on to.

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If the divine is omnipotent, surely followers have some common sense not to put themselves in harm’s way by doing the feared – congregating in religious observance when the danged virus doesn’t give a damn how pious are. If you so much as let your guards down, it hits you like a brickbat. Only common sense will let you avoid that.


Family trips back to my in-laws’ place have also been halted for two years. Even when MCO (Movement Control Order) was lifted briefly, we only made one trip back – with strict SOP and not even stopping longer than an hour for chats and no mingling. It was all done to protect two elderly who are above 80 years old.


It may be silly, you think. But let me share with you this. A friend just lost his aged parents because his sister’s kids came to visit their grandparents. The kids’ father (who brought them) was infected, spread it to his in-laws and within days, eight other family members became severely sick, and the elderly died within minutes of each other three days after symptoms appear. See how recklessness can result in a lifetime’s regret?

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So, let’s not dwell on the “could-haves”. Or the “should-haves”. The outcome of this pandemic is in your hands - three places on your body actually.


One is on your arm where the vaccine goes in; the other on your face where the mask securely covers, and, the last place is between your ears in the skull, where common sense and reasoning sit.

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

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