What Will the Next Year Look Like
Tatler Philippines|December 2021
Industry experts Gigi Montinola, Cielito Habito and Edsel Salvana tell us what to expect in 2022
Chit L Lijauco

Around this time last year, there was a collective excitement over the end of the bleak 2020 and the prospect of a brighter 2021. The optimism had its reasons. The anti-Covid vaccine has rolled out in several countries around the world, and it was just a matter of time when it will be in the Philippines. The number of infections in the country has stayed relatively and comparatively low and selected businesses were allowed to resume operations.

Then, boom! Delta happened.

Everything went back to square one, some say to negative square one. Infection numbers zoomed to the tens of thousands, and lockdowns were imposed again. It is thus not surprising that people are approaching 2022 with a bit more tentativeness, a little more caution— lest we suffer another setback.

“RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2 really mutate fast; but actually, Covid-19 mutates slower than other RNA viruses like HIV,” says Dr Edsel Salvana, infectious diseases specialist. Because of this nature of the virus, Salvana believes that Covid-19 will still be around in 2022 though hopefully, more manageable in terms of prevention and cure. “We know more about the virus after more than a year,” he adds.

The economist Cielito Habito agrees. “It’s time, as people including health experts point out, to look at Covid-19 not as a pandemic but as endemic. It will always be there so we will just have to dance with it.”

Different sectors are already preparing to meet 2022 with the presence of the virus factored in. In education, two years of online learning took a heavy toll on the studentry, which Habito defines as “the lost generation”.

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