Moreno will treat COVID-19 like ‘flu’ as overcrowded hospitals lead to more deaths from other ailments
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will consider COVID-19 as regular flu as he believes the pandemic has driven hospital occupancy up, leading to more deaths to other ailments.
During the one-on-one presidential aspirant interview with Boy Abunda on Thursday, Moreno explained that because hospitals are full due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people with serious ailments visit healthcare institutions.
The mayor said this after being asked by Abunda how he plans to address the health crisis if he manages to win in the 2022 presidential elections.
“What we have done in Manila is to really confront COVID-19, and prepare for any worst scenario. We acquire medicines, we acquire oxygen, we acquire facilities, we acquire more medical frontliners, then at the same time bukas ang ekonomiya,” he said.
“So given a chance, may awa ang Diyos, palarin ako, I’ll treat it as an endemic because mas maraming namamatay sa ibang sakit sa ating mga hospital dala nang hindi na nakakapunta dahil napupuno nang napupuno ‘yong ating mga hospital,” he added.
Moreno referred to other countries like Spain that supposedly treat COVID-19 differently, which means that people live with the reality that the pandemic is present.
“If you see Spain and other countries, they are treating it differently. It’s like normal flu nowadays. Now, the thing is we have to strengthen our vaccination, because sabi mo nga, the virus has to be approached scientifically,” he said.
“We must continue to believe, you know, in this existing anti-viral medicines that we acquired in the City of Manila, that are existing in the world,” he added.
But for a long-term goal, Moreno stressed that the country should start exploring the possibility of creating an agency that would focus on making medicines and vaccines to prepare for the next possible pandemic.
According to Moreno, the Filipino health experts abroad can help the country develop it — and the government should find a way to bring the experts back to the country.
“I think it’s high time for the state, for the Philippine government to invest into our human resources, scientists, doctors, to create our own agency to find cure and medicine of our own. Lagi tayong nakadepende sa bakuna — huli tayo,” he stressed.
“If they can do it there, we can do it here […] for example, UP-PGH, on our own vaccines, on our own medicine. Magaling tayong Pilipino, kaya tayo naha-hire sa iba’t ibang malalaking kumpanya sa mundo. Now, let’s pull them back to the country and invest in it,” he added.
While the country is seeing better COVID-19 data than the quick surge at the start of the year due to the Omicron variant, health experts, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO), have warned about calling the said variant a milder form.
This is because while mortality rates are still low, experts have observed people still being badly affected by the Omicron variant, and aside from long-term effects.
But on the other side of the spectrum, some experts believe that Omicron is possibly the endgame for COVID-19.
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