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US-based immunologist lauds Filipinos for resilience amid COVID-19

Dr. Emmanuel Sarmiento.
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN MATEO--A doctor who specializes in taking care of our immune system believes that a new wave of COVID-19 spikes could take place in the Philippines very soon.

US-based immunologist Emmanuel Sarmiento said on Saturday that the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries is very likely to spill over to the Philippines in the coming days, which could trigger heightened restrictions again.

Sports-wise heightened restrictions could mean limiting the number of fans looking to watch games again to at most 50 percent of the arena seating capacity or worse, placing the games again behind closed doors or even postponing them all along.

"Sa South Korea, Vietnam, at Hong Kong, ang dami nang namamatay... This is the bad news: whatever happens to your neighboring countries will also happen to you," Dr. Sarmiento issued the warning.

He also thinks that, contrary to analyses made during the Philippines' COVID-19 omicron variant surge during the first quarter, the said surge was due to the original omicron variant and not the so-called "stealth omicron" subvariant which triggered the ongoing spikes in the neighboring nations.

Sarmiento cited the example of European countries that have already experienced the spike way before Asia began seeing drastic increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

"They're always two months ahead of us," he quipped, interpreting that the stealth omicron surge already happened there over the Christmas season and could be spilling over to more Asian countries at the moment.

Sarmiento returned home to give a talk about keeping one's self healthy inside and out amid the pandemic at the Luxe Pavilion of Estancia De Lorenzo here.

He also reminded everyone present at his talk to remain cautious as he thinks the current reporting of low numbers of added COVID-19 cases could be too underreported.

"Hindi lang natin alam [na dumarami na naman ang cases] kasi wala namang nagre-report eh," Sarmiento further said, adding that the Filipinos have come to a point amid the pandemic where they are now downplaying simple coughs and colds, two common symptoms of COVID-19.

He also rued the costliness of undergoing an RT-PCR test, the "gold standard" in testing for COVID-19 when South Korea and Vietnam are testing everyone for free.

However, he praised his fellow Filipinos for their resilience in living through COVID-19.

"Ang lakas ng immune system ng mga Filipino," Sarmiento further said, citing the case of the "masa" who cannot afford the high costs of COVID-19 testing but live normally as if there is no pandemic.

He believes that the Philippines might have already reached herd immunity through a combination of vaccination and natural immunity as evidenced by the low number of cases added per day.

Sarmiento also thinks the natural immunity the Filipinos could have already gotten after getting infected by the original omicron variant will ease their worries if they get infected by the stealth omicron subvariant.

Sarmiento then reminded everyone to get vaccinated or even get their booster shots to fast track the herd immunity.

Sarmiento is the brains behind Essen Immunoboost SP, a dietary supplement that works on the cellular level to help maintain immune cells so they can function properly.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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