A Dispatch From House Arrest
It’s past 8 pm here which means I’m under house arrest again. We’re not allowed to go out after 8 until 5 am. Students and the elderly over 65-year are not allowed outside at any time.
Domestic sea and air travel (on an archipelago) is banned, as is a chunk of public road transport. Courtesy of our mayor there’s also an alcohol ban including in stores which seems particularly petty.
There are rumors the curfew will be moved down to 6 pm. Seeing there are hundreds of people sitting in government offices 24/7 doing nothing but thinking up things they can ban next, the rumors will likely soon come true.
The door is still open for foreign travelers but upon arrival, they are to be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a government holding facility (of a Third World country) at own expense. Perhaps some survival-horror tourists will show up if there is such a thing?
What makes everything even more surreal is that this has been implemented in a country where two-months after the first case of covid in January there have been just 25 deaths where virus was present. (About 0.03125 % of all deaths during that time.) That in a place where a particularly nasty and drug-resistant tuberculosis strain is still a thing and where they just rediscovered polio. A place where greedy, frenzied bus companies run over motorcyclists with absolute and total impunity and where trucks bombing down mountain slopes using both lanes with faulty brakes is a way of life. This is the place that has now opted to crawl into a fetal position over a northern seasonal bug at the height of tropical summer?
It seems far more lives could have been saved at the fraction of police investment if they were taken off curfew checkpoints and used instead to force truck drivers to install brakes.
The island-province I’m on is particularly entertaining — that is if you’re one of the four people in the world who enjoy 1950s French absurdism. First, they instituted a lockdown and only then were they able to find a single active infection a full four days later. So now 3 million are under lockdown because of a single confirmed infection, with disastrous consequences for the livelihoods — and ultimately the health and the mortality rate — of untold thousands already living in Third World material conditions before all this started.
A daughter in the city out of work over a made-up covid problem means there’s no money for papa or grandpa in the province to see a doctor for his very real heart problem. This stuff has real life-and-death consequences.
The incredible disconnect between the mild severity of the threat and of the sweeping destroy-everything-in-its-path reaction to it is out of this world.
It all sums up to the Philippines being exhibit A for the case this was driven by media and not reality. Courtesy of their colonization by the US Filipinos are English-speaking. English is the second official language, used in government and media along the dominant local tongue. Even old grandmas in the mountains have some English, and some of the fashionable and upwardly mobile even speak it at home. That means that from the start the country was tuned into and consuming the hysteria that was being built in the Western corporate press. So here we are now. The sun beating down in 40 degree Celsius heat, and the government blowing up the economy of a desperately poor country over a Vitamin D deficiency ailment.
MSM (and alt-media helpers), I hope you’re happy now.