October 3, 2023

The following article was published by The Philippine Daily Inquirer last February 7, 2021. It was written by Dr. Rafael Castillo after his own bout with COVID-19.

In the article, Dr. Castillo tells us that the key to fighting COVID-19 was to have the right mindset – to fight and prevent, not to fear. He says, “The virus has been feeding on our exaggerated fear, which causes us to fumble in decision making and to fall prey as a society not only to its physical ravages but also to its far-reaching socio-economic, psychological and political consequences”.

Dr. Castillo says that COVID-19 has been overrated. If we only let go of the fear, he says that we would realize that even without vaccine, there are many solutions we can implement to control infection and prevent disease. He goes on to discuss COVID statistics vis-a-vis flu and pneumonia deaths.

To end the article, Dr. Castillo says, “The concern and resolve for preventing COVID-19 are fully warranted. But the resulting fear, phobia, paranoia, and panic have gone beyond limits and resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom…Except for strict adherence to the preventive measures, we could have allowed things to normalize in a calibrated manner after the initial lockdown. In our messaging, we could have emphasized how doable it is to reduce the transmission, hospitalization and death rates (and what each of us must do to achieve it), rather than fueled the fear factor and magnified the gloomy outlook”.

Editor’s Note: One year after the initial lockdowns have been imposed in the Philippines, our government has continued on with the fear agenda. Media sites continue to report on “full hospital capacity” in Metro Manila when data from our own Department of Health (DOH) shows that there are still 38.9% beds available in the region. Yes, bed occupancy is beyond 50%, but 64.1% is far from 100%, and panic will not help those who are experiencing illness (whether COVID or non-COVID) at this time.

We stress the need for sobriety in the COVID reporting in the Philippines particularly. Yes, COVID cases are increasing, but our own data is showing tthat deaths and disease severity is decreasing. Fear-based reporting leading to the re-imposition of lockdowns, must be prohibited.

Our fellow Filipinos no longer need to be terrorized to follow government directives relating to SARS-CoV-2. Fear is already a mainstay in our communities. What we need now is hope, that things are getting better and that the end is in sight. [A proper mindset is even more crucial as there is evidence that fear can lead to the weak immunity, see Happiness and health: what’s the connection?. For a deeper understanding of this topic, see END THE LOCKDOWNS! Stop It Outside By Ending the Lockdowns Inside Us].

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