Lower 7-day average cases but still higher than pre-surge levels with 5,966 cases on 07.04.2021

One testing center failed to submit reports for July 2.

The Health Agency announces 5,966 new cases today based on 11.5% positivity of less than 44,000 tests done on a Friday – July 2. Active cases remain above 50,000 and ICU rate utilization is up in the NCR from 40% yesterday to 46% today. Nationwide, the ICU rate is also up from 55 to 57%, perhaps driven by the NCR’s increase in ICU utilization due to slight uptick in moderate and severe cases.

There are 86 new deaths reported, bringing the total to more than 25,000 (which we officially passed yesterday). The case fatality ratio is steady at 1.81%.

While Western Visayas and CALABARZON dominated the days numbers. Nevertheless, the NCR is seeing a higher share in cases, owning 13.5% of today’s 5,966 cases.

Quezon City and Manila continue to declare triple digit numbers while 7 of 17 LGUs in NCR land in the top twenty cities with most cases for the day.

Among provinces, Iloilo grabs the spotlight and leads all provinces in total new cases.

On a national level, while Davao City continued to lead, it had lower numbers compared to the past week and will hopefully see a downtrend in coming week. In the top five are Davao City, Bacolod City, Quezon City, City of Tagum and Iloilo City.

With a Rt = 0.95, the cases go down a tad. The national Rt is driven by increasing cases in the provinces mostly in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. With a 7-day moving average of around 5,600 new daily cases, the Philippines still has high numbers considering that these daily cases are more than 500% of the new daily cases before the second surge. The regions outside of the NCR have lesser health care capacities and will definitely struggle as the numbers continue to escalate. The balance between healthcare and economy is more difficult in these areas because the income per capita is lower than in NCR plus.

The testing capacity of the country is not stellar, as the reports of COVID-19 cases are dependent on the Health Agency insisting to count only those that are positive by RT-PCR. While it is not prohibited to use rapid antigen test kits that have been approved by the Philippines Food and Drug Administration, it is not encouraged as well. Only those tested with RT-PCR are counted, traced and subjected to isolation in facilities in the country. The Philippine Health Insurance agency (PhilHealth) also reimburses only those that get tested by RT-PCR and are positive. With the positivity rate still way above even 10% daily (which is a far cry fro the pre-surge levels where the positivity rated were 4-6% on the average), the Philippines is definitely NOT testing enough. This puts us in a precarious position because only through adequate testing (including patients who are not symptomatic but have significant exposure and considered close contacts or are immunized to some degree) can we do significant contact tracing. Containment of the outbreak will need extensive testing, tracing and isolation.

If we are plateauing at these numbers as the vaccines are rolling out tepidly (for now), we will not be able to stimulate economic growth, reopen borders anytime soon, or contain a future surge. The numbers are just too high to call these data as ‘good’ or classify us as ‘low risk’.

This is how we stand among other countries that are experiencing recent surges. Japan and Taiwan are significant control in cases. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are seeing rapid rise in cases while the Philippines remains flat.

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