As the world rolls out vaccines, the variants threaten reopenings. The data for 07.11.2021

With 3 laboratories not submitting data for July 9, there are close to 6,000 new cases with 11.4% positivity rate. The active cases still hover at around 50,000 per day and while there are significant recoveries, the number of new cases continue to pace with the recoveries.

There are 105 new deaths announced and the case fatality ratio for outcomes remains at 1.82%.

CALABARZON and Western Visayas take back the lead today, while Central Luzon is back in the top five regions with most cases, joining NCR and Central Visayas.

Among provinces, it is Bataan that saw a dramatic increase in cases, coming in number 3 among the top 10 provinces in the country. It is the same province that pushed Central Luzon to fourth rank among regions. With the 284 new cases in Bataan alone, Mariveles took over as the LGU with the most cases for the day.

Seven of 17 LGUs in NCR remained in the top twenty cities with most cases, while Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu province are seeing increasing new cases. According to the news, DOH-Region VII https://cnnphilippines.com/regional/2021/7/11/Central-Visayas-region-now-on-3rd-wave-of-COVID-19-cases—DOH-7–.html announced that the regions now on in its “third wave”.

OCTA MONITORING RESEARCH REPORT

The overall reproduction rate for the country hovers at 0.93. While that is welcome news, notice that many of the provinces remain steady or are seeing a decline (trending ‘flat’). The NCR, while flat is seeing a slight upward trend at 0.91 (after staying less than 0.9 the past 2 months). The NCR needs to maintain a Rt <0.6 or better because any slight upward movement in reproduction number will affect the total number of cases in the Philippines. It is the most vulnerable region for any surge.

The LGUs outside of NCR with most new daily cases from July 4-10 are seen below. Among the four different indicators, Cebu City has the highest reproduction number, Iloilo City the highest ADAR (average daily attack rate), Iloilo City the highest ICU utilization rate and General Santos with the highest positivity rate.

THE WEEK THAT WAS

While the cases took an upward spike the end of May 2021 because of increasing cases in regions outside of the NCR plus, lockdown measures in the major provinces is seeing a slow decline in new daily cases. The 7-day average is lower by 7% to around 5,250/day this week. The number of deaths is also slightly lower, but the case fatality ratio remains steady at 1.82% (based on outcomes – recorded recoveries and deaths). CFR based on outcomes provides a more accurate picture of fatality rates because deaths are always reported late.

Testing capacity is erratic and is slightly lower the past week. This is due to the fact that there are fewer cases in NCR, where the bulk (>40%) of the testing facilities in the country are located. That is also the reason why the positivity rate remains above the acceptable 5% standard. As most of the testing facilities are concentrated in Mega Manila, test results from the provinces eventually are delayed.

In Asia, where we are seeing a resurgence in cases, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the Philippines is performing much better in controlling the outbreak as we see a very slow and steady decline. We need to vaccinate quickly because of emergence of variants among the unvaccinated. If we continue to vaccinate at a slow pace, the emergence of variants can derail the over-all benefit of the vaccines.

This is how the world is currently doing with COVID-19 vaccines. Notice that Asia leads in terms of number of people who have received a single or even full doses. However, the population of Asia is also the largest in the world. For now, the solution is not providing additional boosters to those already immunized. Rather, it is vaccinating a greater percentage of the population. The 70% number to achieve ‘herd protection’ is arbitrary, as this will depend on the efficacy of the vaccines available in the country or community. And that’s a fact. The solution of manufacturing companies on getting booster shots is in theory, a self-serving solution for financial gains of the industry. It does not make sense that you keep immunizing those that have already gotten the vaccine, when a larger majority of people in the world have not even received a single dose.

Let’s get majority of the people in the world vaccinated first, before we even talk about boosters. There isn’t enough going around for now. And the great divide between richer and poorer nations couldn’t be more obvious than today.

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