“Better a thousand times careful than once dead.” —Proverb
By Alex P. Vidal
ANYTHING that concerns our health is a priority and should be taken seriously, thus the decision to postpone the Paraw Regatta Festival 2020 scheduled this month because of the coronavirus scare should be viewed as a good move on the part of Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc (IFFI).When it comes to public safety and health, there should be no compromise and dilly-dallying.
When people are confused, afraid to join the crowd and worried for their health, it isn’t wise to allow any outdoor event—big or small—to unfold and risk a major cataclysm.
Since it is about a deadly epidemic, all the stakeholders will understand and cooperate. No sponsor, government agency, VIP, visiting group of tourists, or sailboat participant will stand in the way to nag and question the postponement.
In the 48 years that the multi-day sailboat race was held on the coastline of Iloilo City, it’s the first time to be grounded temporarily because of fear of epidemic.
Unlike the tightly programmed Dinagyang Festival 2020, it isn’t difficult to hold the Paraw Regatta Festival 2020 in abeyance while public health is under strict scrutiny and contemplation.
Although deaths related to the Wuhan coronavirus were already at fever-pitch in China in December 2019 and January 2020, the level of public panic wasn’t as alarming and thought-provoking compared this month where the death toll has reportedly breached the 900 mark and has eclipsed that of SARS in 2003.
Added to this fear is the most recent revelation by China that the coronavirus is airborne.
The virus can now spread via aerosol transmission—meaning it can drift through the air for an extended period of time and cause infection if breathed in.
HERE in the Big Apple, a senator has revealed that New York City has already spent more than $1 million in the coronavirus response and “could spend millions of local dollars more over the next 60 days to help tackle the virus.”
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a press conference Sunday night local time, asked the federal government to reimburse the city for its use of local funds in fighting coronavirus.
Schumer said: “New York City has already spent more than a million dollars on public health activities of national importance to tackle the coronavirus, and could, if the need develops, be looking at a one-million-dollar-a-day tab.”
“Tonight I’m asking the Feds, (Health and Human Services), to sign on the dotted line, just take the contract and sign it and say we will reimburse New York City for its costs. This administration should not be punishing New York by not giving us dollars.”
Preparations in New York: The funds have been distributed to the city’s department of health, various hospitals, the New York Police Department, and other local agencies, said the press release.
The funds also help source diagnostic tests and other laboratory equipment.It was reported that there have been no cases of the coronavirus in New York state yet.
The 12 confirmed cases so far are spread across six states: Washington, Illinois, California, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)