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Opinion

How Denmark, Norway and Sweden got their pre-pandemic lives back

How Denmark, Norway and Sweden got their pre-pandemic lives back

Opinion
Denmark lifted all restrictions in mid-September. Did Denmark eradicate COVID? Of course not. There are 500 to 700 new cases a day and 0 to 3 deaths every day.  Denmark started vaccinating against COVID-19 on December 27, 2020. Vaccination in Denmark is free of cost and voluntary. It is available to all residents of Denmark and those from abroad staying for more than 30 days in Denmark.  Denmark has one of the highest levels of COVID-19 vaccination in the European Union as of the end of September 2021 – 75% fully vaccinated and 77% with one dose.  Norway lifted all COVID-related restrictions at the end of September. Did Norway eradicate COVID? Of course not. There are 300 to 400 new cases a day and 0 to 2 deaths every day. Vaccination in Norway is fre...
Life in conservation (3rd of four parts)

Life in conservation (3rd of four parts)

Opinion
I fully embraced working solely for conservation when I entered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources during the last part of the 80s. The late Dionisio "Panoy" Tolentino Jr., the first Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Negros Occidental, encouraged me to work with him, although I was hesitant at first to join in the government. It was supported by another friend, who also worked with the DENR, Forester Federico Ibabao, whom I dearly called Manong Fred since he was like an older brother to me, but he, too, is already gone. Both Panoy and Manong Fred were products of Decada ’70, or the First Quarter Storm, a popular student movement against the dictatorial regime of the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Since the two of them took up forestry ...
True greatness

True greatness

Opinion
For the past Sundays, we have followed Jesus as he journeys towards Jerusalem to accomplish his saving mission. The apostles interpret this to mean that Jesus will finally establish the long-expected messianic kingdom. Jesus tells them, however, that in Jerusalem “the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.” Three times he speaks of his impending passion, death, and resurrection, but each time he does, the apostles do not seem to understand, or they simply do not want to accept his words. The first time Jesus predicts his passion, Peter stands in his way and tries to dissuade him from proceeding to Jerusalem. Later, when he makes his second prediction, the apostles engage in a hea...
Risk factors tied to Long COVID up to 7 months after hospital release

Risk factors tied to Long COVID up to 7 months after hospital release

Opinion
Female sex, middle age, two or more chronic diseases, and more severe initial illness were predictive of difficulty recovering from COVID-19 six months after release from a hospital, according to a multicenter study in the United Kingdom and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. University of Leicester researchers led the study, which involved an assessment of 1,077 adults 2 to 7 months after release from the hospital for treatment of COVID-19. The patients left the hospital from Mar 5 to Nov 30, 2020. After a median of 5.9 months of follow-up, 29% of 830 participants said they felt fully recovered, while 20% had a new disability and 19% had to change jobs due to their health.  Researchers identified four clusters involving 767 patients with different degree...
Life in conservation (2nd of four parts)

Life in conservation (2nd of four parts)

Opinion
It was during my college days in the early 80s when I was getting more aware of various issues on the environment and natural resources. Although when I entered college in June 1981, the Martial Law imposed by former and known dictator President Marcos Sr. in 1972 was officially lifted sometime in January that year. Marcos was still in full control of the state and continued his dictatorial regime. His dictatorship was clearly manifested with his power to enact laws, by virtue of the issuances of presidential decrees and executive orders. At that time, I learned the forest cover of Negros and several other parts of the country started to diminish, because of the massive logging industries with operators who were closely associated with the Marcoses. Presidential Decree 705, as ...
Wisdom

Wisdom

Opinion
Our first reading alludes to Solomon’s dream where God bids the young king to ask for whatever favor he wishes. Instead of asking for wealth and power, Solomon pleads for wisdom. God, in fact, grants him the spirit of wisdom - and power, wealth, health, and beauty, as well. Solomon could only say,“All good things came to me together with her (wisdom), and countless riches at her hands.” How much wisdom the world needs today! Never has man had so much access to knowledge and information, yet never has he also been subjected to so much lies and deception that leave him confused and his mind distorted. Just think of the great destruction and harm done by fake news, conspiracy theories, revisionist ideas… in politics, health, social life and even in our relationships. Man may know much...
A super-spreader event

A super-spreader event

Opinion
Amid the rising of COVID-19 deaths and cases in Bacolod City, supporters of Mayor Bing Leonardia and Grupo Progreso were fearless enough to defy protocols and made Wednesday’s march from the San Sebastian Cathedral to the Bacolod Comelec office, a super-spreader event. Footages of the march showed how enforcers attempted to shout above the din to ensure social distancing, but the supporters were clearly excited and threw caution to the wind. During the live press conference, there were also footage of supporters gathering in groups in their respective homes and barangays and that was fine even if some groups were clearly more than 20 people gathered. The church was also filled and although seating apart was clearly followed, those who attended were more than the allowable 10 per...
Lackluster

Lackluster

Opinion
I was expecting new names, new personalities, multi-sectoral at the very least, in the slate of Bacolod mayoralty candidate, Albee Benitez. I was not that disappointed, but I wasn’t impressed either. Many are excited about Albee of course. The video presentation that I caught on social media about provincial officials and the medical community vouching for him with regards to his cohesive response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a good reminder that indeed, the clamor for change and why Albee was convinced to run for mayor, all started because people were so frustrated with how the city government handled the pandemic. I’ve said it then when I was still writing for another paper that this pandemic can make or break sitting officials. Which is also why Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran’s...
COVID vaccination prevented hospitalizations and deaths in Scotland

COVID vaccination prevented hospitalizations and deaths in Scotland

Opinion
Last week, we have seen that in Israel, without the national vaccination campaign, the country would have had 3X the number of hospitalizations and deaths, which could have overwhelmed its healthcare system.  This time, we have yet another real world evidence showing that COVID vaccination, without a doubt, prevents hospitalizations and death. In Scotland, less than 0.05% of at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 were hospitalized or died from the virus, according to a large, population-based study looking at data from Dec 8, 2020, to Apr 18, 2021.  The results, published in The Lancet, showed that of 2,572,008 Scottish people, 883 needed COVID-19–related hospitalization, and 541 died from COVID-19 infection after the first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTec...
Sheer irresponsibility

Sheer irresponsibility

Opinion
Almost two years into this COVID-19 pandemic, and there are still people who will attempt to endanger others for their benefit. It was incredulous to hear what happened in one of our private hospitals here in Bacolod over the weekend due to an expectant mother who intentionally withheld proper information that led to chaos. According to my source, the mother who was from Talisay City was scheduled to give birth and as part of the protocol, was asked to have an RT-PCR test before admission. She initially went to Red Cross and her test came back positive. She then went to another testing lab where another RT-PCR came out with negative results. This was what she presented to the hospital upon admission and she was admitted to the ward along with negative moms. As part of protoco...
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