Into the eye of the storm of variants and the data for 08.15.2021

The detection of lambda variant in the middle of the storm of other variants circulating is disconcerting. For now, lambda is a VOI (variant of interest) and not considered a concern. We need to keep an eye on this as it evolves This, as the Health Agency reports 14,749 new cases, bringing the active cases past 100,000.

Tests done last August 13 racked up to close to 60,000 but the positivity rate for those were still at 23.5% high.

There were 270 new deaths added, bringing the case fatality ratio of outcomes to 1.851%.

ICU bed utilization is at 71% in the NCR while it is at 70% nationally.

While NCR continued to have more than 3000 cases, CALBARZON reaches a new high with 3,000 new cases followed by a new high also for Central Luzon with more than 2,000 cases. These three regions make up 58.8% of today’s cases, but it is CALABARZON and Central Luzon that are seeing a dramatic increase in cases.

On a provincial level, CAVITE has been on a streak with more than 1,000 cases for the past days. Cavite is one of the provinces under a more relaxed quarantine compared to Laguna, which is in its neighboring border. Both Cavite and Laguna are the top two provinces for the day,

On an LGU level, cases in NCR continue to rise in various LGUs but remain flat in others. Quezon City continued to lead on both the regional level and national level as the LGU with most cases. Eleven of 17 LGUs in NCR are in the top twenty list of most cases by city. Three of the top twenty are LGUs in the province of Cavite.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

Of course, the first of the weekend report is from the OCTA Research group. For the week of August 8-14, 2021, the country now has a 7-day average of 11,000 cases/day. The Rt for this period is 1.46 and the growth rate in new cases up by 29% from the last week.

The top twenty provinces with most new cases is in the table below with Tarlac registering the highest jump of 139%, followed by Rizal, Cagayan and Nueva Ecija – all with more than 50% increase in cases.

Incidence rate (or ADAR) ic critical in Ilocos Norte despite the 24% decline in cases and Aklan which saw a 5% rise. NCR, Cebu, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Pampanga all saw significant increase in cases from the past week (which is truly a wonder why these areas annexed to NCR are even considering going into a lighter quarantine status next week).

Bed capacity is critical in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan, while ICU capacity is at critical level in Cavite, Pampanga, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan and Tarlac.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Of course, the report will not be complete without an assessment of how we did as a nation for the whole week – 9 days after declaring various forms of lockdown measures in the Philippines.

Without a doubt, the increase in cases has sent the hospitals to full capacity once more. On August 14, the Philippines recorded the second highest number of cases at more than 14,000 in a single day. Will we break the record set last April 2 where we posted 15,280 cases.

The death cases were also on an incline over the past week in spite of a few days of recording low cases. Death reports will always be late, and when validated may get lumped in a single report. Whatever reason is provided, it is evident that as the number of cases see a rise, so do deaths.

Testing during a surge is important. Unfortunately, over the same time period where lockdowns were imposed, there was no significant increase in testing done, driving up the positivity rate of the tests to an all time high. As of yesterday, the 7-day average was almost 25% or 1 in every 4 individuals tested, testing positive.

Among select Asian and ASEAN countries that are experiencing a surge in cases, the other countries are still seeing increasing numbers but have slowed down. Indonesia for example has seen a significant decline in number of cases. While Indonesia may have more daily and total cases, if we take the population of Indonesia vs. the Philippines into consideration and compute for the number of cases per million population (per capita), Indonesia has only 13,852 cases per million people, but the Philippines has 15,532 cases per million. Deaths on the other hand are lower in the Philippines with 270 deaths per million vs. Indonesia with 420 deaths per million.

The reproduction number is a reflection of how the countries have been able to bring down the new cases or slowed it down. A month ago, the Philippines was able to stay at the bottom of the rung where its R was less than 1.0. Among the select countries, our R is up while all other countries that have slowed down or brought down the number of cases are seeing a decline in the R. A major indicator on how we are doing is the ability to bring down the R and maintain this at a very low level forever. Anytime we see a steady rise in the R, is an indication that cases are up and that interventions at addressing the rise should be implemented immediately in order to abrogate a surge.

Finally, this is where many countries in the world stand with vaccination coverage and with the delta variant. We are not that far from some neighboring Asian countries, but there are some that are doing better are vaccination than us. Cambodia, with a population of around 16.5M has more than 52% of the population vaccinated (43% fully).

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