COVID-19 and the “Taong Grasa”

Of course we all know about COVID-19 and how it ruined 2020 for all of us. And no, it is not a Chinese Bill Gates Illuminati hoax meant to control people by wearing masks and shutting down entire economies. Now whether it is an experimental disease that escaped from a secret lab by freak accident or just Nature’s way of screwing us is still a matter of debate and controversy. The point is the disease is real and has already killed more than a million as of this writing. But despite of its clear, lethal nature many people still believe it is nonexistent or just something as mild as the flu or the common cold. Yes, politicians and bogus doctors spreading a good amount of misinformation contributed to this. But there is one misbelief that is the core of this misinformation in the first place. It is that the more you are exposed to diseases, the stronger your immune system will become.

That belief is not only wrong, it may as well have caused the death of thousands. It has been proven since the 1930s that the more you are exposed to diseases and pathogens (especially viruses), the more your viral load is which will cause you to be sicker. Sure, exposure to some germs is necessary but just breathing air gives you more than enough germs for your immune system to deal with. What about disease-causing pathogens? Well, that is the purpose of vaccines; inject the body with a cell fragment of a pathogen just enough to evoke an immune response and train the immune system. But back to the point, why is it that despite the miracle of modern medicine, people still choose to believe that the more you are exposed to diseases, the more protected you are? Well, it all comes down to the “taong grasa”. The homeless. Pariah. Beggars. The very manifestation of society’s failures.

Most people will say “taong grasa” just to prove their point. Why is it that despite not receiving any medical care, they are still walking strong? Why don’t they feel any pain or illness? The truth is, nobody knows. No one even bothered to approach them in the first place because they look dirty and we often equate dirty to being infested with germs which is quite ironic. Maybe they have been exposed to so much pathogen thay it is not enough to trigger symptoms, potentially making them super spreaders. Or is it probably because that the fact we don’t approach in the first place the primary reason why they don’t show any signs pf COVID-19? Was it the fact that we’ve been socially distancing ourselves from these pariahs even before sh*t hit the fan the reason they were spared from this pandemic? We will never know because we look at them as pariahs. The untouchables. Misinformed people look at them as the pinnacle of health. Most people look at them as vectors of diseases. One thing’s for sure, we refuse to approach them not just because of health reasons, but because they are different than the rest of us.

We are afraid because they are the manifestation of our biggest fear: becoming society’s outcasts. We must get rid of this subconscious fear of these outcasts in order to give them their basic needs for their well-being. We must take the necessary steps to help them both for moral and public health reasons. Most importantly, we must not be misinformed that these people are “healthy” and does not need medical attention as they are humans like anybody else. We do not yet know a lot about how the genetic seqence and mechanism of COVID-19 truly works. Giving these people the medical attention they desperately need will protect them from this disease and protect us as they will not be able to walk around unwittingly and potentially spreading lethal pathogens. 

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