Why is 'Thank you coronavirus' trending on Twitter?
MANILA, Philippines – No, Filipinos are not exactly thanking the deadly virus.
On Monday, March 23, Filipinos on Twitter slammed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) over a post which "thanked the coronavirus," pushing the phrase to the top of the trending topics on Twitter.
In a post, the agency thanked the coronavirus "for shaking us and showing us we're dependent on something much bigger than we think."
The agency has since taken down the post and apologized, explaining that the poem they shared was "meant to provide an enlightening and awakening narrative into this pandemic."
"We acknowledge that not all of our audience appreciate the underlying message of the poem and video and we understand taht some view it as an insensitive act," the agency added.
Regardless, the damage was done and the screenshot of the posts have circulated online.
In the post, DOTR shared an original poem by Riya Sokol, a Polish poet.
Poland, whose healthcare system is publicly funded, has a total of 634 positive coronavirus cases, with 627 active cases and 7 deaths as of Sunday, March 22,2020.
This roughly translates to 1.1% mortality rate, which is lower than the 3.4% global average for mortality rate declared by WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Philippines, which has a healthcare system ranking 102nd in the entire world according to 2019 Global Competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum, has 462 cases with a total death toll at 33 as of posting.
That translates to roughly a 8.3% mortality rate which is more than twice the global average.
Why post something like this?
Why is a government agency posting something which many netizens call absurd and insensitive?
On Twitter, Filipinos shared their outrage and expressed their disdain for the post.
this "thank you corona virus" of DOTr post, taking in consideration, it's clear that they want to accentuate our Filipino value of looking at things with silver lining. HOWEVER, dude, with the increasing rate of mortality and victims of the virus, it's an inappropriate optimism.— my name is DICE. (@hey_dice) March 23, 2020
"THANK YOU CORONAVIRUS" statement from @DOTrPH may have some pint of reality, however it is immature to thank a virus that kills thousands of people in just four months.— Martina Arnado (@tinadzae) March 23, 2020
t-thank y...???? innocent people are dying, the marginalized are suffering, and yet all we can hear from DOTr is a fucking thank you?????? "THANK YOU CORONAVIRUS"?????? ambaho! amoy pribilehiyo! https://t.co/oqBic2RYdQ— ً #MassTestingNowPH (@arcolapop) March 23, 2020
Who deserves our gratitude?
According to netizens, we should appreciate instead the volunteers in our communities for embodying bayanihan at this very important time. They also said that we should express our foremost gratitude to the frontliners and medical workers risking their lives to help the sick.
DOTr: THANK YOU CORONAVIRUS— claude⁷ vallejera (@wildYoongles) March 23, 2020
Dami namatay tapos THANK YOU CORONAVIRUS??? MAKAPAMULITIKA LANG GANUN DEDMA NA SA MGA NAGSAKRIPISYONG BUHAY NG MGA NURSE AT MGA DOCTOR!— HanaBae (@iamYunissse) March 23, 2020
They added that instead of being grateful to the coronavirus, Filipinos should instead be thankful that some of us still have our humanity amid this insanity.
CORONAVIRUS taught us a lot of lessons but it doesn't mean we should use the phrase "thank you coronavirus" because this entire pandemic will never be a blessing. Always remember that.— kuya france (@kuyafranceee) March 23, 2020
The last thing you can do is to romanticise Coronavirus this way. Thank you Coronavirus my ass. There's nothing to be grateful for if we learn some few things out of it at the expense of innocent lives. #brainmalfunction #stupidlogic #stopRomanticisingCoronavirus #nothankyou https://t.co/nCT9Q42yL6— meltedrainbow (@meltedrainbow) March 23, 2020
THANK YOU CORONAVIRUS. Nakilala namin ang tunay na may malasakit sa bayan— Theo Cuasay (@teocrab26) March 23, 2020
Thank you, coronavirus, for showing us (Filipinos) who the real public servants are at times like this.— MarckGelo Villanueva (@marckgelov) March 23, 2020
Russel Anthony Loreto is a Rappler Mover from Quezon City. He is an undergraduate of business from University of San Carlos and is currently pursuing his Communication Arts degree in Trinity University of Asia. He is the current Public Relations Officer for Trinity University of Asia Media and Communication Organization.