Photo: Graph of Precovid growth rates in Mindanao regions. Our growth momentum can be regained with the "reasonable balance"
There are two global lessons we have learned in the last three months.
The first is that lockdowns indeed slowed the spread of the virus by enforcing social distancing. Indeed people have accepted that some form of control or loose quarantine will be needed to keep the viral spread at Bay while we build up health capacities and await the precious vaccine, or consistent treatment protocol.
In our own country, the truth is that we have managed to prevent the dreaded million infections by June which was the original estimate by experts before the quarantines were imposed.
The second lesson is that the economic impact of the lockdowns are devastating- a global recession and downturn unprecedented since the great depression of the 1930s, plunging oil prices and pushing many heretofore strong economies to the brink of bankruptcy.
All across the world this has exacerbated last year`s slowdown owing to the US China Trade war.
While global infections continue to rise, and many countries, even those deemed success stories are by themselves grappling to keep infections down, the truth is that here in the Philippines we have built testing and isolation capacities that enable us to deal with surges. This is true in many areas like Manila, Davao and Cotabato.
Now comes the point:
Dealing with the new normal means we have to think beyond the desire for zero infections. The absence of a vaccine makes that impossible.
We will have to live with the virus and other disruptions in the long term. That means dealing with it.
Pat of dealing with is means striking a "reasonable balance" of keeping the economy open while protecting the health of the citizenry as posited by Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez.
In his Philippine Star column, Boo Chanco cites the reasonable balance positively, noting that Dominguez speaks for many of us. (https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/07/08/2026321/arise-virus)
This reasonable balance that protects our health and sustains our economy by keeping our growth momentum up. This will keep incomes which will also be needed to collect vital revenue`s to finance further stimulus. This is the way forward.