With the coronavirus, everything has come to screeching halt here. The country, the island, the metro, the city, the barangay, the neighbourhood, and the building in which I live are all shut down and under enforced quarantine and curfew. Only with a quarantine pass may one leave the building on an essential errand once a day. That errand is, of course, the purchase of groceries, a kilometer walk to and fro. As I am a senior, however, I am not allowed out. Seriously. That nearly daily joy is now a burden, with hour-long queues, borne by my spouse alone.

In lieu of my daily walk outside, I walk six floors of stairs – two flights each, ten stairs, each flight, with landings in between – ten times a day, in 35 to 38 degrees of heat (95–100° F) and high tropical humidity. I am not complaining. I look forward it. It is a solitary exercise of finite duration, a time to write in my head.

The Philippines has 110 million inhabitants; Luzon, 63, million; Metro Manila, 13 million; Makati, 640,000. The State of Washington has 7.8 million; Seattle Metro, 3.4 million. Greater vulnerability demands more stringent precautions. The lockdown began at midnight on the 16th of March. It has been extended ’til midnight on the 30th of April, and will very likely be extended again ’til midnight on the 15th of May.

For those who eat inhumanely, industrially raised chicken, the current quarantines should come as a wake-up call. You may recall avian influenza, bird flu. Now it is your turn. If nothing changes, nothing changes.