by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
“I am Covid-positive.”
These words shook me to the core when I received this message from my 67-year-old mother who lives in Florida just a few days after we said hello to the new year. And the very next day, my youngest brother in Canada along with his youngest daughter, aged 7, also contracted the virus.
We entered 2022 with so much expectation and anticipation for a better year but we were all battered with waves of sickness brought about by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Months before 2021 ended, we have already seen the steep increase in positive cases in the region of Africa, Europe and the United States. When 2022 came, Asia followed suit.
And we all saw it coming. The Omicron variant is very contagious. It’s spreading. And it’s spreading fast.
In the Philippines, travel from one place to another had already been tolerated. Gatherings and reunions have already been allowed. Just a few days after the holiday season, the cases rose from almost 200 to more than 20,000 per day.
Here in South Korea where there have been no lockdowns ever since the pandemic started but strict social distancing and contact tracing have been enforced, the cases increased from 4,000 per day to more than 17,000 active cases as of this writing.
Every single day from the very beginning of the year, I have been receiving messages from loved ones and friends, asking for prayers because their families have caught the virus.
Yes, not just one member, but almost every member of the family are exhibiting symptoms and have tested positive. I even have friends who got affected with the past variants and got infected again by the Omicron.
Oh my, Omicron! What a way to start the year, isn’t it?
The Omicron may have caused thousands upon thousands of families, including the people I love, to feel weak, sick and quarantined from the world, but there’s a silver lining amid a very dark and difficult season, bringing so much hope and encouragement to me.
Many have survived and are now recovering.
All my friends and family members who got the virus are now well and healthy again. My mother experienced runny nose and headache, and after several days, she’s now back to work as a nanny. My brother suffered from slight headache and loss of taste, and his daughter had a low fever for one night.
They are now back to normal. My brother doing multiple jobs and my niece is back to school. Some of my friends have exhibited worse symptoms but eventually they recovered, by God’s grace.
They say that the Omicron variant is milder than the previously dominant variant, Delta, but we should still stay vigilant and careful.
As for our family here in Korea, we have refrained from dining in restaurants and going to crowded places. Despite being fully vaccinated, my husband and I have cancelled our plans to travel out of town for the Lunar New Year holiday, Valentines, and our 8th year Wedding Anniversary to protect ourselves, especially our very young children, from catching the very contagious Omicron.
It’s just the second month of the year and it’s a long way to go before we see the end of the tunnel.
Our pandemic journey is still dark and long, but we must keep moving forward with perseverance, faith and hope. Things are going to get better. Everything will be fine.
We will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our bodies may be weakened but our spirit will continue to fight. The virus may be overpowering us at the moment, but the human race will continue to stand victorious.
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan