What A Year It Has Been So Far For 2020

It is already the middle of March 2020. Almost a quarter of the year has already gone by. Not too long ago we were just celebrating the new year. Like it was only a few days ago. How fast time flies. Really. No matter how many times I say that, it still leaves me with wonder always.

2020. The year that is now. It would seem that this year did not start out so well. A number of not so good things have happened right from the beginning.

First, coming back from the Holiday break, I was greeted with bad news at work. One of the projects I was involved in had some post delivery issues. Yes, we were able to deploy it to production. But it was not working as expected. A lot of finer things were lacking or not supposed to be. The clients were not happy of course. While it was not entirely our fault – a lot of the requirements were not clear from the start – and it was not just our team that had issues, nonetheless, mistakes were made. Costly blunders that could have been avoided altogether. Naturally, heads (or one) had to roll. That much was obvious. I salute that individual who took the blame courageously (Or did he really have a choice?). For me I think it was admirable for them and it saved a lot of jobs. Maybe I am overreacting? A similar incident happened at the start of the year when I first came onboard back in 2019. Some 30-ish people lost their jobs in an instant because of a series of unfortunate events.

Then there was the eruption of Taal volcano in Batangas, Philippines which apparently took Filipinos by surprise. Hundreds of families were displaced. Millions of pesos worth of properties were destroyed. It happened all of a sudden, so it would seem. No fanfare, no exaggerated social media posts, and no dramatic news coverage of what could happen leading up to that event. Everything was quiet. As if there were no warnings or premonitions of the danger that lurked underneath the watery surface of this famous volcano. No preparations or plans were made on the imminent danger. But I am sure there were signs. How the people in charge interpreted those signs I do not know. The good thing is that it ended just as quickly as it started. That was a big relief. Yet, the consequences for being unprepared took a big toll and that was only days into the Year 2020.

Now, the end of the first quarter is around the corner. At the start of the year up to the present, news of an infectious new strain of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19 for short, that was rampaging unchecked all throughout a city in China. Suddenly, Wuhan – the outbreak epicenter where it all started – in the Hubei province is under the world’s spotlight. All for the wrong reasons. A city of 11 million souls. A place that a lot of people outside its own country have never heard of before is suddenly at the center of attention of everyone. It was the topic of discussions everywhere. People around the world are on edge. And we should be. This virus is highly contagious and it is deadly as well. Little is known of the virus, aside from the fact that it is of the corona virus family. It is only now that scientists are making some headway of this novel corona virus.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans.

The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face.

Source: World Health Organization

China has had to bear the brunt of the onslaught of this microscopic serial killer at first. Thousands have died from this outbreak. Tens of thousands more sick. But it would seem the worst has come and while it is not gone yet, it appears the situation is stabilizing for them. Slowly though, this lethal virus has managed to slip through the screens and taken roots in various regions all around the world. It escaped not stealthily though. It did so easily because of porous border policies, when nations aside from its origin did not see it as much of a threat. Now governments are racing to contain it. Cities are in lockdown mode. Panic buying is everywhere in every corner of the globe. Everyone is being asked to strictly observe ‘social distancing‘ at all times. Markets have plunged into a downward spiral. The near future looks pretty grim for the people of the planet Earth.

There is no cure yet. I am hopeful there will be a vaccine soon. It will take time for sure. Right now the remedy is to slow down the spread. Prevention is worth more than the cure, they say. The old school approach of isolation looks to be working so far when no wonder drug for this virus is yet to be had.

Places where the numbers of corona virus cases are rapidly rising are now in some form of quarantine in one way or another. In Metro Manila, that is the situation right now. The streets are empty. EDSA, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the country, is almost bare except for a handful of private vehicles hurriedly running north or south to who knows where. Buses and trains are parked and padlocked. Music gatherings have been cancelled. Sports events are suspended indefinitely. Casinos and churches, where before the sounds of coins are abuzz, lay eerily silent. Malls have been ordered closed. Only the essentials, such as groceries and pharmacies, are allowed to open. There is a curfew running daily from 8PM to 5AM. It is like a ghost town here in Metro Manila.

This is the scenario for at least 30 days. I hope by then, some time in the middle of April 2020, everything will go back to normal.

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