I AM a birdwatcher, and one of my dreams is to discover a new avian species. There’s a possibility it could even be named after me!

I cannot go birding because of COVID-19, and with my gadgets as constant companions, I have found myself instead coining two terms relevant to the times:   Viberus and Messengeritis.  Both attack the brain and can infect anyone, but let me focus on one community: the Chinoys (which I am part of, by the way).  What are the symptoms of these two related diseases among these people?

  1. Posting and forwarding other people’s tragic events on Viber and Messenger, with names and photos
  2. Grabbing screenshots of private messages and public profiles in FB and passing them on Viber and Messenger, with no regard and respect for privacy.
  3. Discussing personal information of COVID-19 victims and sensitive details, then passing them on again on Viber and Messenger.
  4. Announcing someone’s death, or his/her being in the ICU, when actually the person is alive and well—and passing the wrong information on Viber and Messenger
  5. Reporter wannabes posting tragic events in Chinoy cultural forums, whose unethical admins encourage discussion rather than immediately taking down the posts.

Where is decency?  Do we need to ask Chinoy community leaders to organize a task force to look into this? I understand concern and sympathy. However, there should be a thick line between sympathy and the pasikatan over whose news is authentic.

So how do we treat people infected with Viberus and Messengeritis? Same as COVID. We have to identify them first.  Anybody want to help me do this?

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