Cases in the NCR are up and Rt=1.06 on 07.20.2021

You know that the reported cases are disturbing considering that the Health Agency is scrambling with how to deal on ‘gently’ breaking the news of the delta variant to the public. When the messaging is inconsistent over a 24 hour period, you cannot expect the public not be anxious.

But yes, Delta has landed. Even the Health Secretary has declared that we must act as if the variant is now in town.

Over the payday weekend, the business community recently enjoyed the brisk gains in Mega Manila with the shift to regular General Community Quarantine as observers noted open air malls filled up with children’s laughter and restaurants full of customer who wined and dined with gusto.

The last time we saw this scenario was Valentine’s Day this year. NCR was in regular GCQ. The vaccines had not yet arrived. But celebrations of love and romance permeated the tired citizens.

Two weeks later, the surge crept in. It took another two weeks to send the healthcare system in Mega Manila out of control.

A round of quarantines returned.

This time, however, the government decided to open up businesses while total new cases averaged 5000 daily in the country. In the NCR, children 5 years old and up are now allowed to enjoy open air activities.

In the midst of the Delta variant threatening a new surge, how will government balance this difficult act?

Businesses cannot afford another lockdown. Vaccines are arriving in trickles and we’re not jabbing them quick enough.

The Health Agency reports 4,516 new cases today. While it may seem lower than yesterday (because today is a Tuesday), this is relatively higher than the previous Tuesday. A little more than 34,000 tests with 10.9% positivity rate last July 18 are reported today.

An additional 58 new deaths were recorded, keeping the case fatality ratio steady at 1.83%.

On a low day, NCR is on top owning more than 15% of the total cases. While CALABARZON is in third, it is because Laguna seemed to not have submitted test results for the day as they suddenly disappear from the top ten provinces for the day. This accounts for Central Visayas being in second rank today.

Cebu province led the day among provinces, followed by Cavite and Davao del Sur.

And Quezon City is back in the lead as the LGU with highest cases as it breaches the 200 mark once more. Seven of 17 LGUs in NCR are among the top 20 cities with most cases. Three key cities in Cebu are in the top ten as well.

As of July 18, 2021, more than 15M doses of COVID vaccine have been administered. There are less than 5% of the population fully vaccinated. The infographic of the health agency below is inaccurate because it does not actually reveal the total population that should be vaccinated. It simply states how many frontline healthcare workers or A2 or A3 and so on down the line have been vaccinated with one or two doses. Which really does not provide the actual picture of how many in these sectors have been covered.

Example, there may be 2,700,000 health care workers that are front liners. Which means if only 1.3M are fully vaccinated, then less than 50% of the HCWs have been jabbed.

It also does not expound on how many percent in the various LGUs have been vaccinated. There are numerous complaints from citizens that there are no vaccines reaching their LGU when in fact they belong the to the bubble that needs to receive the vaccines first.

Hopefully, the agency should be able to address these issues because a storm is brewing.

And everyone needs to stay on top of the situation because the storm that is threatening us, will affect those that are also vaccinated.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

NCR climbs back to top spot with a reproduction number higher than the national Rt (1.06 vs 0.95). And this is the first time it inches back above 1 since 3 months ago when the region was under the strictest quarantine.

Two cities in NCR are a cause of cancer – Makati and Manila. Manila had a growth rate of 35%, while Makati increased by 29%. Valenzuela, Pasay, Marikina and Parañaque had increases in new daily cases as well and Tagged has ICU utilization at 100%.

Based on the four indicators (Rt, ADAR, ICU and positive tests), the LGU with very high risk is Mariveles in Bataan. Those at high risk are: Davao City, Cebu City, Bacolod, Iloilo City, Makati, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, General Santos, Laoag, Lapu Lapu City and Butuan.

Note the jump in Rt of NCR to 1.06, higher than the national average and ADAR has breached 5. Positive tests are also up from <5% to 6%. The NCR is now classified as MODERATE risk. With a population of close to 14M and the most dense region in the country, it will only take two weeks to see a surge happen once more, particularly in the unvaccinated group.

Hopefully, the government does not wait for that to happen. Prior to the second surge, the warning bells were sounded off early. Someone listened to the economic managers first. The rest was history.

The question is – will history repeat itself?

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