517 new cases and 243 deaths and the data for 12.04.2021

The Philippines is seeing a 7-day average of 514 new daily cases and 138 daily deaths reported as of December 3, 2021. This brings the weekend to a lower daily average than the previous weeks in terms of cases, but the backlog in outcomes among those moderate to critically ill needs to be reconciled sooner and announced in one blast.

The Health Agency announces 517 new deaths today and with more than 1,100 new recoveries, this leaves the active cases down to a little more than 14,000. Half of the active cases are moderate to critically ill. Notice that the severe to critical account for more than 3,200 of the active cases. This does not correlate with the ICU utilization rate, both nationally and in NCR.

There are 243 deaths added today.

544 cases and 235 deaths and the data for 12.03.2021

The Philippines continued to report cases averaging 700/day as all areas in the country are declared Alert Level 2. In spite of the second to the lowest alert level imposed nationwide, the government (and this writer) encourage everyone to get vaccinated and to make sure that in spite of vaccination, to follow minimum health standards of wearing a proper fitting mask, avoiding crowds and congested places, avoid unnecessary gatherings, and continue to wash hands and practice proper cough/sneeze etiquette.

Today, the Health Agency reports 544 new cases today based on close to 33,000 tests done last December 1 with a positivity rate of 1.8%. The active cases are down to less than 15,000. Almost half of these are moderate to critical.

There are 235 added deaths today.

NCR accounted for 20% of todays cases, while the Zamboanga Peninsula has 78 new cases (a mix of backlog reports and recent ones). All the rest of the regions saw less than 50 cases, with two regions reporting single digit.

On a provincial level, no province saw more than 50 cases with Zamboanga Sibugay claiming 43 cases.

Six LGUs report double digits as Quezon City was the only city that had more than 20 cases at 21. All cities and municipalities had less than 20 cases and majority reported single digit with the least number of cases today at 5.

1.7% positivity rate and the data for 12.02.2021

As more countries are now reporting Omicron (24 as of this writing), we need to remain vigilant on the situation as there is still paucity of data on transmissibility and severity of this new variant of concern. We probably will know more information in two weeks.

The Health Agency reports 564 new cases today based on 34,918 tests done last November 30 with 1.7% positivity rate. This is one of the lowest (if not the lowest) positivity rates the country has recorded. This also drops the 7-day average to 600 cases/day. Almost half of the active cases are moderate to critical.

There are 40 additional deaths today.

The NCR reports 104 new cases with Quezon City accounting for almost 1/3 of the total cases in Mega Manila. Central and Western Visayas are in second and third rank today with 69 and 57 cases, respectively. Cases in Central Visayas are driven from the province of Negros Oriental, specifically Dumaguete City.

It’s relatively a benign day as 7 LGUs report double digits with less than 30 cases (except for Quezon City), while the remaining in the top 20 LGUs are all single digits, with 5 cases as the least number.

500 cases and 167 deaths and the data for 12.01.2021

The first day of December looks promising as the Health Agency reports 500 new cases based on a little over 30,000 tests done last November 29 with 2.1% positivity rate. And with slight more recoveries than new cases, the active cases drop to around 15,000 for the country. But this is still an over estimate because almost half of these active cases range from moderate to critical cases. If you look closely at the infographic below, you can see that almost 25% of the active cases (>3,500) are still either severe or critical. All these cannot be accounted for the ICU bed utilization both nationally and even in the NCR. These outcome of many of these cases have not been accounted for and the reporting on deaths is NOT real-time.

There are 167 new deaths announced today.

NCR reported 110 cases today, with Quezon City accounting for close to 30% of the cases in the region. Almost all the other regions report double digits, while four regions report single digit cases. It is important to note that there are still backlogs in the data and it is strongly advised that the agency report all the backlogs sooner than later. This is important because of the threat of the new variant. Any sudden artificial uptick in cases due to backlog can be mistaken for a ‘surge’ of unnecessary concern.

Isabela is the lone province that had more than 50 cases today.

Among LGUs, only 5 LGUs report double digits while the rest in the top 20 had single digit reports.

425 new cases and the data for 11.30.2021

The last day of the month of November 2021 has the Health Agency announcing 425 new cases today – our lowest since June 02, 2020 when we had 359 cases.The Philippines now has a 7-day average of less than 750 new cases/day (this including backlogs). As reported yesterday, the data in NCR is real-time and is the reason why Mega Manila data is reliable.

The data today is based on 24,442 tests done last November 28, with 2.1% positivity rate. Active cases are at 15,800 with almost half of them moderate to critically ill.

There are 44 additional deaths announced today (with a lot of backlogs in outcome of active cases still being unaccounted for).

The NCR reported its lowest number since the pandemic with 66 cases today, or 15.5% of the total cases in the country. This was followed by Cagayan Valley and CALABARZON with 48 and 46 cases respectively. Five regions reported single digit cases.

On a provincial level, all provinces in the top 10 had less than 30 cases, with Zamboanga del Sur and Benguet in the lead.

Zamboanga City led on an LGU level with 24 cases, while Quezon City had only 18. Eight of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top 20. Notice that the fewest cases in the top list today is 3 and there are multiple cities from North to South of the country with very low single digit cases. In NCR, 4 LGUs reported zero (0) cases – Malabon, ParaƱaque, Marikina and Pateros.

Analyzing the active cases and the data for 11.29.2021

The week begins with 665 new cases, an all time low. The last time we saw cases this low as July 13, 2020 when the country recorded 653 cases. Today’s data is based on over 32,000 tests with 2.1% positivity rate (also an all time low). Active cases are slightly down to 16,289, but more than 46% are still moderate to critical. The analysis for this is in the white paper below.

There are 141 newly announced deaths.

NCR led today’s numbers with more than 25% of the total cases or 164 of the 665 cases today. It is also NCR that is real-time while the rest of the regions have delayed reports. The data today for NCR is accurate, but cannot be said with all the regions.

Zamboanga del Sur had the most cases on a provincial level, with all provinces in the top 10 having less than 50 cases.

Even if Quezon City takes back the lead among LGUs, none of the top 20 cities/municipalities had more than 50 cases. Only 6 LGUs reported double digits while the rest of the LGUs in the top 20 were all single digit cases, with 5 cases being the least number for the day.

COVID RESEARCH WHITE PAPER

This white paper most likely has been shared several times on social media (Twitter or Facebook) since yesterday. It’s an analysis of the active cases of the Health Agency as of November 27, 2021. There are a few things that the reader is advised when going through the data provided. (1) This is data from the daily Data Drop of the Department of Health. (For those knowledgeable about the Data Drop, it provides the whole excel data sheet of the cases including whether they have been resolved or not.) (2) The Health Agency will most likely need to depend on the Local Government Units for information on the outcomes of the active patients. Patients who may present initially as asymptomatic or mild can progress to more critical states or recover spontaneously. There is no way we can track that unless the patients are followed up on a day to day basis – something that is apparently not seen on the Data Drop. Remember, the classification of the condition of the active case is at the time of testing. (3) Backlogs in unresolved cases go way back to 2020. While it is understandable that more severe or critical cases (at the onset) may have longer hospital stays, it is highly unlikely that their outcomes would remain unresolved after 30-60 days.

As provided in the table below, there are over 1,200 cases in 2020 that have had no outcomes yet. We do no know if they are dead or alive. For the 2020 data, there are still 294 patients initially tagged as asymptomatic or mild who have had no resolution on outcome. For the moderate to critical, 1,124 cases remain in limbo.

The same interpretation can be made for the data in the first half of the year and from the third quarter (July to September 2021). The third quarter has the largest bulk of unresolved cases classified under moderate to critical. These remain unreconciled as of the publication of the white paper.

Triple digit week, the week in review and the data for 11.28.2021

The Health Agency announces 863 new cases today as the number of deaths continue to record triple digits at 156 for the day. This is based on more than 34,000 tests with a positivity rate of 2.4% on November 26.

Number of active cases are down to a little more than 16,000 with close to 45% moderate to critical in status.

While the NCR continued to record the highest cases among the regions (it is after all the densest in the country) accounting for almost 20% of the total number in the country today, other regions continued to report double digits. Only BARMM reported single digit cases.

Even on a provincial level, none of the provinces reported more than 50 cases, with Negros Oriental having the most cases.

Zamboanga City continued to lead among LGUs with highest cases, while 8 of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top 20 cities/municipalities with most cases for today. The fewest cases in the top 20 was 8. With LGUs reporting less than 40 cases and many LGUs reporting 10 cases and less, will we touch the 500 mark this coming week?

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It wasn’t a bad week for the Philippines and many Asian nations. In spite of the news of Omicron as the new variant of concern emanating from Africa and now found in other parts of Europe and Hong Kong, here’s a run down on the week that was.

The 7-day average is down to around 1000 cases/day while deaths are still in the three digit numbers due to the backlogs and late death reports from the Health Agency. Many of these deaths were still months back and not real-time.

Over-all, was a good week as the positivity rate and hospital utilization rate continued to drop. The reproduction number stayed at a decent 0.7 (+/- 0.05), and has been <1.0 for the past month. As long as there is no rise in this number, we will continue to see triple digit trends in cases for December (sadly, as well as deaths because of the backlogs).

The country is faring incredibly well compared to select Asian countries. Although Singapore is seeing a large dip in its reproduction rate from 0.9 to 0.76, the slight increase in Ro of other countries just points to the fact that low numbers are stable (and will stay that way hopefully as long as we continue to accelerate vaccination and observe health protocols in spite getting vaccinated).

On a per capita basis (cases and deaths per million), Singapore continues to take the lead (but there are more cases reported for Vietnam one should remember that Singapore is a tiny nation with less than 6M people). The Philippines joined Indonesia in reporting single digit cases per million population as it recorded 9 new case/M population for its 7-day rolling average.

Unfortunately with the backlogs, the Philippines continued its lead on death reports in these select Asian nations with 1.70/M deaths.

With the global reaction to Omicron, it is best that we remain vigilant and not get too excited at reopening the borders too broadly. There will be some sacrifices we will need to make, and some of them will need to weigh benefits over risk. For now, because of the many unknowns on Omicron, erring on the side of caution is the way to go.

Preparing for a storm – whether it arrives or not – will always be the most prudent action.

Get vaccinated. And keep practicing minimum health standards.

The situation may look safe now, until you test positive.

Triple digits towards the weekend – in cases and deaths – and the data for 11.27.2021

It’s another straight day for triple digits, in both cases and deaths, as the Health Agency reports 899 new cases based on more than 37,000 tests done last November 25 with a 2.4% positivity rate. The active cases are still around 17,000 with close to 45% of them being moderate to critical. And as the announcement for deaths continues to come in aliquots, there are 188 new deaths announced today, bringing the case fatality rate for outcomes to 1.71%.

Today’s number of cases brings the 7-day average to around 1,000 (or less) new cases/day.

Hospital utilization rate both nationally and in Mega Manila are now below 27%.

The NCR owned 161 of the 899 or 17.9% of the total national cases. Two other regions reported triple digits – Zamboanga Peninsula and CALABARZON. However, the data from Zamboanga Peninsula were actually late reports. More than 60% of the data from Zamboanga were from September 2021.

This accounts for why Zamboanga del Sur was number one among provinces and Zamboanga City reporting 105 cases today, when in actuality, there were only 37 recent positive patients from November 14-25.

Nine of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top 20 LGUs with most cases. With 7 cases as the least number of cases in the top 20, this means that if your LGU had 7 cases, it would be in the top 20 list.

Continuing triple digits on cases (and deaths) and the data of 11.26.2021

As the world watches B.1.1.529 (most likely to be called Nu Variant) in harried anticipation, the Health Agency reports 863 new cases based on close to 39,000 tests done last November 24 with a positivity of 2.5%. Active cases remain stagnant as more cases than recoveries are reported today.

An additional 142 deaths were announced, bringing the cases past the 48,000 mark.

B.1.1.529 emanated from Botswana and was identified on November 9. It has spread to its neighboring country South Africa, which is now seeing a 10-20 fold rise in cases from its low triple digit numbers. Aside from South Africa, it has also been reported in Hong Kong (from a traveler from South Africa) and lately in Israel and Belgium. Because of this new variant (which has not been classified as concern or interest) there is a need to speed up the vaccination process and protect the borders of the country as South Africa and Hong Kong are currently classified by the IATF as “green country”, allowing travelers from these nations to arrive locally with no quarantine being required. There needs to be an immediate shift in policies with this information being driven by concern from various nations.

Only NCR recorded triple digits today with 183 cases or 21% of the total share of the national cases today. The rest of the regions in the country report double digits.

Isabela, however, had the most cases among provinces. Nevertheless, all provinces report double numbers today.

On an LGU level, 11 of 17 LGUs in NCR are in the top 20 as the number of cases in the country ease down. Not one LGU in the top 20 list had more than 50 cases, including Quezon City. The least cases in the list was down to 7 – meaning if your LGU reported 7 cases, it would be included in the top 20.

B.1.1.529 – what do we know so far?

  1. It contains 32 spike protein mutations implying that the current vaccines available may not be as protective as with other variants of concern in the past. Mutations on the spike are potentially more problematic in that it can evade immunity and increased transmissibility. As to whether it can cause more severe disease is unknown.
  2. Because of the high number of mutations, the nature of this variant may have come from a chronically ill individual where the coronavirus had survived and allowed to mutate to this extent. Because HIV is predominantly seen in Africa, it is possible that this mutation had emanated from someone with this illness.
  3. So far, the global cases are low. With 3 being reported in Botswana (all fully vaccinated), 53 in South Africa and two in Hong Kong (from travelers from South Africa). (update: Israel and Belgium have reported cases as well)
  4. The World Health Organization has classified this variant as a variant under monitoring last Wednesday and are meeting to weigh in on the impact of this new variant. (update: the WHO has classified this as a Variant of Concern and is now designated as Omicron)

975 cases and 193 deaths and the data of 11.25.2021

With close to 39,000 tests done last November 23 and a positivity rate of 2.8%, 975 new cases were announced today by the Health Agency. The active cases remain above 17,000 with more than 40% being moderate to critically ill.

Of the 17,796 active cases, more than 20% are severe or critically ill. As to how many of them are backlog data (those who do not have outcomes yet) is most likely the reason for the high deaths being reported daily.

There are 193 new deaths announced today.

NCR had a decent 187 new cases today (accounting for around 19% of the national total), with CALABARZON in second spot, driven by the province of Rizal in general and the City of Antipolo in particular. Only Mega Manila and CALABARZON reported triple digits today.

Eight of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top twenty cities with most cases today as the fewest number of cases in the top 20 list is at 8. This means that if your LGU had 8 cases, it would be part of the list. And it is good seeing single digits in the top 20 list.