Robredo willing to lead effort vs COVID-19 if given blanket authority

After expressing her frustrations over the lapses in the country’s pandemic response, Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said she would volunteer to lead the effort against COVID-19 if given blanket authority.

In her weekly radio program, Robredo was asked if there was no one leading the government’s pandemic strategy.

“Wala talaga, Ka Ely. Ang tagal na nating ginagawa ito, ‘di ba. Ang tagal na nating ginagawa na–ang tagal na pala nating hinihiling. Last year pa. Ang term ko nga last year, Ka Ely, konduktor, eh. Parang walang konduktor,” the Vice President responded.

(No one leading. We’ve been doing this for a while. We have been asking since last year. My term last year was a conductor. It’s like there is no conductor.)

But because she was alarmed by the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, Robredo said she was willing to volunteer to lead the pandemic response, if allowed to do so.

“Sabi ko nga, Ka Ely, kung puwede lang mag-volunteer na ako kaya lang. Mahirap din mag-volunteer. Kung hindi naman bibigyan ng blanket authority, wala ka ring magagawa, ‘di ba,” Robredo said.

(As I have said, if only I could volunteer, I would. But it is difficult to do so. If you can’t be given blanket authority, you won’t be able to accomplish anything.)

“Pero nakakaano na, Ka Ely, kasi 20,000 a day iyong mga kaso. Bumababa lang yata tayo Tuesday, Wednesday, eh, kasi ito iyong nare-reflect iyong weekend testing na may mga labs na sarado. Pero the rest of the week, ang taas,” she further said.

(But we are recording 20,000 new cases a day. We only recorded a decrease on Tuesday or Wednesday, because testing showed that some labs were closed. But for the rest of the week, there is a spike in cases.)

Robredo said if this keeps up, there was a danger the health care system would break down.

Herd immunity still far off

In a weekend state media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the herd immunity threshold would be raised to 80% to 90% because of the Delta variant.

With this increase in vaccination target, Robredo said ever more doses of COVID-19 vaccines would be needed.

“Eh tinitingnan ko, Ka Ely, kung halimbawa 90%, ‘di ba, ano ba iyong 90% ng 110 million, ang 90% siguro ng 110 million mga–ilan iyon, mga 98 million, mga ganoon. Eh iyong 98 million na tao, iyon iyong herd immunity ng Delta, ita-times two mo pa iyon kasi two doses. Kung ita-times two mo iyon, 196 million ang kailangan mo,” she said.

(If we’re talking 90%, 90% of 110 million is around 98 million. Ninety-eight million people is the herd immunity threshold for Delta. You have to double that because you need two doses of the vaccine. If you double that you will need 196 vaccine doses.)

“Kung magbu-booster ka pa, iyong 196 [million] plus, ‘di ba? Ang layo pa natin,” Robredo added.

(For booster shots, we will need more than 196 million doses. And we are far off from that.)

To date, the Philippines has 14,109,916 fully vaccinated people which is only 18.29% of the eligible population of the country. — DVM, GMA News

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