Still risky to toot your way to 2022 | Inquirer News
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DOH renews advisory vs ‘torotot’

Still risky to toot your way to 2022

/ 05:02 AM December 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — “Torotot,’’ the toy trumpets or horns traditionally used as noisemakers to welcome the New Year, may turn out to be just as harmful as powerful firecrackers, with the coronavirus pandemic far from over and the Omicron variant posing a new threat.

Like in the first year of the pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) advised the public to consider other ways of welcoming 2022 without the risk of injury or COVID-19 transmission.

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Horns, trumpets or whistles can spread the virus through saliva and aerosols discharged into the air, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.“We encourage everyone to use other noise and light producing devices or watch community firework displays,” Vergeire added.

To those who keep the tradition of welcoming the New Year on a booming note, authorities usually recommend banging pots or pans or playing loud music.

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The DOH issued the reminder amid rising concerns over the Omicron variant, which is said to be more transmissible than the currently dominant Delta variant that has caused recent spikes in COVID-19 cases around the world.

’Cracker injuries

The DOH reported the fourth Omicron case in the country on Monday. (See related story on this page.)

Also on Tuesday, the DOH said it had already counted 23 firecracker-related injuries since it started monitoring on Dec. 21, with less than a week before the New Year.

“These were 92 percent higher compared to 2020 (12 cases) and 64 percent lower than the five-year average (65 cases) during the same period,” the agency said. “All cases were injuries due to fireworks… There was no fireworks ingestion, stray bullet injury, or death reported.”

Eighteen of the 23 victims suffered burns or blast wounds, with seven requiring amputation and six sustaining eye injuries.

Twenty of the cases were due to illegal fireworks, with seven victims injured after using “boga” or an improvised cannon typically made from plastic pipes used for plumbing.

—TINA G. SANTOS
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TAGS: COVID-19 infections, DoH, New Year 2022, toy horns
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