Do not be afraid but take care
The 2019 n-Corona Virus is now the concern all over the world. It has spread so fast. It was detected only last December in Wuhan China and already it has infected 17,480 people in 15 countries causing 362 deaths, the first death outside of China being in the Philippines. The numbers are rising every day. There is really a need to be concerned. If unstopped, the spread of viruses can kill thousands, and even millions of people, just like the so-called Spanish flu that killed more than 50 million in 1918—more than the casualty of World War I.
To be concerned, however, does not mean to be afraid, much less to feel helpless. Proper, timely and true information is needed to avoid this. False news can cause panic on one hand, and it can also create complacency on the other hand. The situation is serious but steps are being taken to arrest its spread. Already there are notices on what to avoid and what to do, like avoiding unnecessary contacts with people, to wash one’s hands frequently, to wear face mask in risky places, etc. One important thing to do is to have a healthy lifestyle, like having enough sleep, eating healthy food, and proper exercise, because when one is healthy, one’s immunity to illness is strong.
In all these, the common good and the safety of the people should be the primary consideration of governments and institutions, not political expediencies, much less profit concerns. Therefore, true and timely information is to be given to all. This includes not only the extent of the spread and the death caused, but also those who have recovered and the cures that are being discovered. We need not only bad news but also good news, and the latter also abound.
It is important that information be given about the initiatives being taken to show solidarity and concern to all. It is very heartwarming that the Vatican State, small as it is, has sent more than 600,000 medical masks to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian in China at the initiative of solidarity of the Pope’s Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Vatican Pharmacy and the Missionary Center of the Chinese Church in Italy. Inspiring gestures such as these should multiply and create a global solidarity.
As Christians we all can contribute to this global solidarity also by our prayers. All through history we have seen that plagues have been stopped not only through medical means but also through prayers and great acts of charity. Wherever we are, in whatever state of life, in sickness and in health, we all can pray. Let us implore the Heavenly Power to protect us, to stem the spread of the disease, to cure the infected, to receive the souls of those who have died and to comfort the bereaved. This is a big resource that we Christians have—the power of solidarity in prayer and in charity.
So when we say “to take care,” we mean not only to take necessary precautions for our protection, but it also means to “give care,” that is, to care for the others. We can go out of our way to help others to spread proper information, to extend our hands—and our pockets—in charity, and to lift up our hearts in prayer.
(Guest editorial by Bishop Broderick Pabillo)