The first day of April looks like it’s opening on a better note with 8,920 cases reported by the Health Agency for Maundy Thursday. But it isn’t.
As you comb through the infographics for the day, one can easily deduce that the lockdown and the calls for a stricter lockdown came two weeks late. Had the call been made two weeks ago, we would not be struggling the way we are today. Healthcare capacities have now breached the critical level of 70 percent. This data is inaccurate and most likely underreported as almost all hospitals in Mega Manila see queues of patients waiting at the throngs of the Emergency Rooms for someone to even attend to them.
The positivity rate is at an all time high of 21.1 percent (or almost 1 in every 4-5 people tested ending up positive for COVID-19). Worst of all is the number of active cases which are almost 140,000 or 18.4 percent of the total cases. This is one of the highest number of active cases in the world based on the number of positive cases for COVID-19. Unless the positivity rate drops together with the number of active cases, this surge will not be controlled before Easter Sunday and the ECQ should be extended further, notwithstanding the economic concerns of the business sector.
Why are we still seeing high cases in spite of the ECQ? And are the slightly lower cases the past two days due to the ECQ?
The answer is NO. The ECQ is not a miracle solution. The incubation period of SARS-COV2 is between 2-14 days. The duration of the incubation period here makes the control of the infectiousness of this virus a challenge. Shortening the duration of lockdowns and quarantine or isolation have the potential to create a false sense of complacency among patients who are asymptomatic and are not all tested and thereby jeopardizing any gain made from stricter lockdowns. Mobility is the key driver to this infectious disease, and sadly, is also the key driver to economic revival in the country. With the NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon contributing to an average of 80 percent of the daily total cases and are major centers of commerce in the country, the delicate balance of healthcare and economy may tip heavily in favor of the economy if the government does not offer assistance (financially or in kind or as tax rebates) to the business sector and the community. Shortening the stricter lockdown will have serious consequences to the healthcare sector and any gain made during the stricter lockdown can be wiped out in a week when easing mobility is considered.
The National Capital Region reports more than 5,000 cases today, marking a grim moment as it registers more than 56 percent of the total cases in the country. This is the highest percentage share for NCR in the past days. CALABARZON has 1,684 (19 percent), followed by Central Luzon with 882 (10 percent). These three regions alone account for an astounding 85 percent of the total cases in the country for today.
There were 45 ROFs included in todays case count and 31 cases with no information on a regional level.
In Mega Manila, Quezon City continued its quadruple digit roll with 1,047 cases (21 percent), followed by Manila with 783. Pasig is third with 410. Taguig, Caloocan, Makati, Marikina had less than 400 but more than 300 cases. Parañaque and Pasay had less than 300 but more than 200 cases. The cities with more than 100 but less than 200 cases were: Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa. There were 13 cases from unknown LGUs.
As in the past days, 14 of 17 LGUs in NCR continue to dominate the top 20 cities with most cases, with ranks 1 to 12 all belonging to the NCR.
Among the provinces, Cavite led the pack with 527 cases. Three provinces in the CALABARZON region were among the top five. Aside from Cavite, Rizal and Laguna were those provinces.