In the midst of our second week after one year of being in various levels of community quarantine, we need to reexamine our mentality regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we’re dealing with it.

We’ve learned a lot of things, yes; but at the same time we may have also forgotten or neglected other matters that were at top of our minds at the onset of lockdown last year. Let’s take a look at the things we should be remembering in order to successfully move forward in our fight against the coronavirus.

  1. Safety & health is a black-or-white concern.

Over the course of one year, we’ve gone from being heavily cautious to being somewhat more relaxed. This is largely because we’ve managed to reclaim some level of normalcy in our daily lives: returning to work, going to the market, even dining out or going on family outings.

But even with all these gradual changes, the threat of the coronavirus has not faded away. It may even have become more potent, due to the new variants of the virus that have been discovered. And the only relevant question when it comes to protecting ourselves is “are we safe, or not?”

There is no middle ground or gray area in this matter. We are either protecting ourselves properly, or we are not. Either-or. Adjusting the standard protocols for our personal convenience, such as wearing incomplete face coverings or leaving the home for things that are not too important, can only lead to greater risk of infection – whether for ourselves or the people around us.

We must commit ourselves whole-heartedly to being safe and healthy, because that’s the only way we can be.

  1. The coronavirus cannot be reasoned with, and it doesn’t discriminate.

It cannot be said any more plainly than this: the coronavirus doesn’t care whether a person is young or old, active or sedentary, employed or unemployed. It doesn’t care whether a person has or doesn’t have any prior history of any illness. It won’t pass over anyone just because of a person’s religious beliefs, social standing, or financial capability. The virus will follow its nature, which is to infect anyone and everyone it comes into contact with.

Bearing that in mind, we must all practice safety and health protocols without exemption. Where certain protocols cannot be followed due to personal health- or work-related limitations, there are always alternative or backup precautions that can be used to fill the gap in protection.

We are facing an enemy that will take all of us down, no matter what walk of life we come from. That’s why we all have to be part of the effort to fight it.

  1. It will be a long and challenging journey, but we can overcome COVID-19.

We’re all dissatisfied with COVID-19, and that’s a good thing. We’re indignant at the way it has prevented us from going on with our normal lives. And we don’t accept its presence – we firmly believe it has no place in the world we live in.

Sometimes, this is expressed through denial. There are those of us who take the risk and engage in activities that increase exposure to the coronavirus, all in the name of defying the pandemic and refusing to be afraid of it. But this is not a productive way of expressing our dissatisfaction.

The safest and most productive way we can defy COVID-19 is doing everything within our ability to beat it the proper way. This requires us to firmly believe in the reality that we can beat this pandemic. It’s already been done in other countries, whether big or small, first-world or developing. If we hold on to the hope of overcoming the pandemic, in time we will be able to join those who have triumphed over it.

Of course, we also have to work on making this belief a reality. Countries who have beaten COVID-19 were able to do so through collective discipline and effort, while maximizing the tools and resources at their disposal. Now that pharmaceutical manufacturers have developed and begun distributing vaccines, we can integrate vaccination with safety and health protocols to form a long-term and comprehensive solution to the pandemic.

The willingness and determination to take such concrete action will always be rooted in believing – having faith – that our efforts will lead to something better.

And there’s nothing better, at this point in our history as a nation within a world besieged, than surviving and thriving – overcoming this challenge, and continuing with our journey.

We must always remember to think and act as one, tenaciously and decisively tackling any obstacles so that we may have a clear path to the good and great things that have already been laid out before us.

Graphic elements by rosapuchalt and freepik via