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Do not obsess over UK variant - Gov 
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Gov. Gwen Garcia shows a report from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said the new variant “is not as deadly as Covid-19." (Junjie Mendoza)

Don’t be too fixated and obsessed with the United Kingdom (UK) Covid-19 variant. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia advised this in a press conference Tuesday, February 9 at the Capitol.

The governor thanked Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire for making a public apology to the Province of Cebu and the Municipality of Liloan on mis-tagging a case of the United Kingdom (UK) Covid-19 variant from Liloan. 

“We appreciate the apology that Usec. Vergeire issued for and in behalf of the DOH to the Province of Cebu and to the municipality of Liloan,” she said.

However, she emphasized that Cebuanos, including so-called medical experts and self-appointed social media experts, should look into a more important issue to be answered: how severe and fatal is the UK Variant? 

Quoting a report from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Garcia said the new variant “is not as deadly as Covid-19."

“Viruses constantly change through mutation and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time,” she said reading a CDC advisory.

“Tungod kay RNA man ni siya, ang genetic code ani nagsige'g kausab depende og kinsa ang host organism ana ug ang environment, mag-mutate in order to survive,” she said, adding that since Covid-19 started in 2019 it has gone through several mutations.

She further cited that “new variants emerge and disappear, and other times, new variants emerge and persist” still depending on the host and the immune system of the host, among other factors including the environment. 

In the same CDC report, it said multiple Covid-19 variants have been documented the US and in other countries but it was only in the UK that conducted a genome test. 

“But does it mean deadly? Angay ba nga kahadlokan, angay ba nga karon mag sige na pud ta og share sa Facebook ‘hala naay bag-ong variant panago namo tanan. Kamang mo ilawom sa inyong mga katre, panira mo sa inyong kwarto kay naay bag-ong variant,” the governor said.

Garcia added that CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have pointed out that there is no evidence yet to prove that the UK variant is deadlier than the original Sars Cov-2 or Covid-19.

“I hope you do your own study, pagtuon mo. Information is readily available, dili sa Facebook ha, ayaw nang Facebook kay colored kaayo na. Ang inyong mabasa nga ni share anang iyang i-share kadto ra pud ni support sa iyang stand. You google it, pangita sa tanan nga balita and kadto mga credible sites. Basaha unya kamoy timbang-timbang,” she said.

The governor remarked on the fascination over the UK Variant when there has been no conclusive fact that it is more lethal than the Covid-19.

The DOH has reported one death caused by the UK Variant but is currently investigating as the case involves an 84-year-old man who had no travel history and exposure to other persons.

In her apology, Vergeire said it is part of their protocols in reporting to announce the address of Covid-19 patients.   

"We'd like to apologize to the Province of Cebu. Hindi po tayo para mag-instigate ng takot ngunit iyon lang po talaga ang regular o kasama po doon sa pagre-report natin talaga (We don't want to instigate fear, but this is part of our regular reporting) because that is part of their case investigation form," Vergeire said.

DOH Central Visayas spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, in a local radio interview, had corrected DOH-Manila’s report saying the patient has been staying in Parañaque City since November until he got tested on January 17. 

The patient was in Metro Manila applying for work overseas. (Vanessa L. Almeda)