I still cannot forget that I was almost a close contact of the very first local case of a COVID-19 positive person in the Philippines.
Such traveler flew from Cebu to Dumaguete in January 2020, the same day I was having a business trip with my boss of the same route and airline. Upon checking, it turned out that although we essentially had the same flight together with the confirmed case, ours was one schedule ahead. It was a temporary sigh of relief.
The threat of COVID-19 exposure did not end there: sometime in early March 2020, just days before the enhanced community quarantine was imposed, I attended an event in Clark, Pampanga as part of the exhibitors. It was part of my work. For context, at the time the government still hasn’t taken the deadly virus seriously so everything pushed through like usual. No masks were ever worn during the event.
We checked in in a hotel, later discovered to have accommodated some confirmed cases as well. My workmate informed me about the situation through text. I was so nervous about contracting the virus since I displayed some symptoms. Or maybe it was just placebo effect.
I was never formally diagnosed with COVID-19 since resources for testing were still limited at the time.
Was I COVID-19 positive?
Nobody knew if I had the virus since my cough and fever wore off in time for the start of the longest ‘lockdown’ in the world.
The pandemic went by.
People were forced to work at their own homes, myself included. Everyone’s daily dynamics have changed with the virus lurking around. In worse cases, lives were taken.
As we transitioned, the virus mutated. Several variants of COVID-19 were introduced, almost completing the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, et cetera.
Now, in the last quarter of 2021, we have Omicron. It is said to be the most contagious among the variants.
I might have caught it.
On the midnight of December 31, 2021, I welcomed the New Year feeling a bit uneasy. I shrugged it off as just simple cold or fever, pointing the reason to the weather. Everyone is having a flu, I said, so this might just be it.
The thought of being COVID-19 positive did not scare me though since I know do not have any comorbidities or prior illnesses. But still at the back of my mind, my body does not know how to fight this new variant still being studied.
Good thing I was fully vaccinated already, so I felt some level of security on my end. I am insured too with 3 policies so being financially burdened is the last of my worries.
Still feeling sick, I observed and assessed. Here was my impression: I was convinced that I caught the Omicron variant upon checking the symptoms: high fever, cough, colds, body pain, and headache. I did not have runny nose which is a consolation; but doctors said even just cough could mean COVID-19 positive.
Wanting to put my mind at ease if I will become part of the rising numbers of confirmed cases in the country, I went to the Red Cross facility in Mandaluyong on January 5 to get a confirmatory test. It has been five days since I experienced the symptoms. I was feeling a lot better when I went outside while observing the protocols.
Less than a day after I submitted to an RT-PCR swab test, I got the results.
I tested positive for COVID-19.
No idea if it was the Omicron, but most likely. It would not make much difference at this point.
However, an infectious disease expert Dr Rontgene Solante says there is now community transmission of Omicron variant in the country as of January 8. So yes, most likely.
Today, January 8, the Department of Health tallied 26,458 new COVID-19 cases, giving us a total of 102,017 active infections.
That’s a lot.
What I can do now is to complete my isolation and quarantine days because I am a responsible Filipino citizen unlike Gwyneth Chua. She is another topic to write about but if ever this reaches her, I have this short message: Fuck you, Gwyneth Chua. Look at what you have done. I hope you rot in hell.