Of Herd Immunity, Bangsamoro Extension, and DOST’s Star Rising

(SDN) — Good news for Americans!

The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, according to CNN, the U.S. is not far off from achieving Covid-19 herd immunity, also called population immunity by the World Health Organization (WHO). It can also mean community immunity.

So what is “herd immunity”?

Here’s the WHO definition:

“Herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.”

Each disease requires different number of immune people to achieve herd immunity, WHO explained, citing the example of measles.

“For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80%.”

But apparently, since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is relatively new (only in December 2019), the percentage of people that need to be immune is still unknown. But the number that experts are mentioning is around 70 percent of a country’s population.

That’s also what the Philippine government is saying, 70 percent of the 110 Filipino population need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

And in America, says a CNN report, citing what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has mentioned.

“Herd immunity thresholds for Covid-19 are only estimates at this point. But experts generally agree that somewhere between 70% and 85% of the population must be protected to suppress the spread.”

And at the rate the U.S. is giving the jabs to its population, now at present about 28 million people (8 percent of the population), herd immunity is around summer.

“If vaccination continues at its current rate and the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were the only options available, 70% of the U.S. population could be fully vaccinated by mid-September,” CNN said.

That is expected to gather steam as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the one-dose vaccine of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for emergency use.

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Over 600,000 sign BARMM online petition for extension.

Online Petition for Bangsamoro Extension Nears A Million Signatures

As of today, March 7, 2021 at 4:40 p.m., supporters of an online petition requesting President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify as urgent Congress bills extending the Bangsamoro transition period has already gathered 966,869 signatures.

The goal is a million signatures and that is short only by 33,131.

“We need 33,131 votes to reach our target 1 Million signatures.  The support of the netizens is massive and overwhelming and we are confident that we will be able to achieve our target in the coming days, a confident Atty. Hanan Romanda-Kahalan of the CSO-MMG said. (CSO-MMG means Civil Society Organization-Movement for Moral Goveranance, the petition’s main proponents.)

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) per its Charter, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) says the governing Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) led by Interim Chief Minister Ahod B. “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim has a term of three years 2019-2022, when elections for regular officials should be held.

Another three years extension as BARMM and its supporters are clamoring would put off the election to 2025.

Whether that is attainable, or not, only Congress has the final say even with the avowed support of the President.

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DOH infographic on Philippines coronavirus cases.

Don’t look now, but the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is slowly but surely pushing the Philippines in the conversation about space program.

First, the DOST now has placed into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) four satellites — two Microsatellites and two Cubesatellites — Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, Maya-1 and Maya-2.

It has also successfully pushed Congress — House and Senate — to enact a law eventually signed by President Duterte creating the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSa).

The DOST headed by Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena has put the department front and center of the government battle against the pandemic.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) as of MArch 7, 2021, that country now has 594,412 confirmed cases of infections with 36,043 active cases; 545,853 recovered; and 12,516 fatalities from SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the government has started its vaccination program with the arrival last week of Sinovac vaccines. A few days ago, vaccines from AstraZeneca also arrived, giving a much-needed push to the nationwide immunization program.

Front-liners are the first to get the jabs — healthcare and medical personnel and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including the Philippine National Police. (/)

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