With 14,286 new cases on 09.30.2021, are we finally seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases?

We end the month of September on a high note. There were less cases today than expected, which is actually a good sign that we most likely will not see the 20K mark anytime soon.

More than 60,000 tests done last September 28 showed 22% positivity. While the positivity rate is still high, it is lower than the previous positivity rates of close to 30%. In addition, the positivity rate is also much lower in the NCR, the epicenter of the pandemic.

There are 130 new deaths announced today.

NCR accounted for 23% of today’s cases with 3,241 reported. Four regions report four digit numbers: CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Region. All the rest, except for the BARMM report triple digits, on a day when many regions report lower cases which may not necessarily reflect the real number of cases but a delay in reporting.

The provinces of Benguet and Cagayan top the provincial level.

Among cities and municipalities, 12 of 17 LGUs in NCR remain the haulers for the top 20 list. Baguio City, Davao City and Zamboanga City are among the top 10 cities with most cases for the day.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

The last week saw a continuous downtrend of COVID-19 cases in NCR, with average cases ranging from 20-23% of the total cases in the country. This meant that there was a general decline of 17% from the previous week. The reproduction number (R) moves down to 0.87 from 0.94-0.99. The positivity rate in the capital has also decreased to 18% (from a previous 21%).

While NCR remains at high risk, six LGUs are considered moderate risk based on the indicators used by OCTA – Incidence rate, R, hospital bed utilization and ICU utilization.

The new low for the week and the data of 09.29.2021

It’s always good to hear better news. So instead of the low Tuesdays, we’ve had lower cases on Wednesdays. And this time, it’s not only the cases that are a bit lower, but it’s also the positivity rate.

The Health Agency announces 12,805 new cases for today. With less recoveries, the active cases are slightly up.

There were more than 51,000 tests done last September 27, for a positivity rate of 22.9%. The lower positivity rate is good news if we are able to sustain this and we do more testing so that we can do appropriate contact tracing.

The deaths are a different matter altogether. The Health Agency this morning announced 292 additional deaths, which did not include the 190 deaths in the 4PM report. The aliquot reporting on deaths was likely due to glitches the system has been experiencing in the past week. Note that 212 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation. One hundred seventy five of these recoveries to deaths are part of the 292 deaths added this morning. This brings the total deaths due to COVID19 past the 38,000 mark. [Note that the DoH corrected the deaths an hour after posting and the total deaths reported in the 4PM report were down to 186, making the total deaths of the day 448.]

The NCR accounted for 23% of the total cases for the day with 2,967. Other regions with four digits were: CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Western Visayas. None of the regions reported less than triple digits.

On a provincial level, Rizal and Cavite led the provinces.

And on a LGU level, 12 of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities/municipalities with most cases. Included in the top ten LGUs were: Baguio (2nd), Davao City (4th), Antipolo (5th), Bacolod City (8th), Bacoor City (Cavite, 9th) and Iloilo City (10th), as many LGUs in the provinces are in the top 10.

The low Tuesday is back and the data of 09.28.2021

After the glitches left and right from the Health Agency, and the very late night report for yesterday’s cases, the Department of Health reports 13,846 new cases today. With close to 40,000 that have recovered, the active cases are also down to a little more than 130,000.

On September 26, there were 47,430 tests with a high 24.1% positivity rate.

New deaths reported today were 91. This puts the case fatality ratio for outcomes at 1.57%.

Notice also in the active cases, the very large asymptomatic cases – 16.4!

For the second straight day, NCR accounted for a low 20% of the total cases in the country. While there are four other regions with quadruple digits, it is Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Regions that is seeing a large rise in cases.

Benguet and Cagayan now lead on a provincial level, with Benguet for the first time reporting four digit numbers.

Even on a local level, Baguio City shot up to number 2, next to Quezon City, with 537 cases for the day. Ten of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities/municipalities for the day, while Davao City, Zamboanga City, Bacoor City (Cavite) and La Trinidad (Benguet) joined the top ten list.

Past 2.5M cases and the very late data for 09.27.2021

I was a nail biter to the very end. The 4PM daily report came in at 930PM. Drum roll please…

The Health Agency reports 18,449 new cases today and with more than 21,000 that recovered, the total active cases are now a little above 158,000. But that was enough to push the country’s total past the 2.5M mark.

The more than 68,000 tests done on September 25, the positivity rate is at 23.5% and expected to bump up a bit with a Sunday report for Tuesday.

There were 93 deaths reported today. This lowers the case fatality ratio for outcomes to 1.60 percent.

With the numerous glitches occurring with the COVIDKaya of the Department of Health, they are trying to address the several issues where the negatives were counted as positive cases, as well as the death cases. With the 102 additional deaths reported this morning, the deaths recorded on 09.27.2021 are actually 202. But this is again an undercount considering that the number of deaths reported for the last three days were ZERO (or not applicable).

The very very late granular data just came in this afternoon.

The NCR continued to lead, however, it accounted for only 16.7% of the total cases. The other regions with four digits were: CALABARZON, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Cagayan Valley, and Davao Region.

On a provincial level Negros Occidental and Davao del Sur topped the provinces.

Ten of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities/municipalities with most cases. Other major cities in the top 20 were: Davao City (2nd), Bacolod (5th), Baguio City (8th) and San Fernando, La Union (10th).

Back to 20K with 21.6% positivity on 09.26.2021

They’re not really saying why. But the reports have come in late lately.

Only two scenarios why there are 20,755 new cases reported by the Health Agency today. Either they are counting antigen swabs and/or there’s a lot of backlog being reported.

With close to 75,000 tests on September 24, the positivity rate drops to 21.9%. What we do not know is if these represent only PCR tests or do they include antigen tests as well.

This is also the third straight day where NO deaths have been reported due to system glitches. It is, after all, statistically impossible to have no deaths for the last three straight days on a day where you see five digit cases. No country in the world has even managed to be that lucky.

Tomorrow, we will break the 2.5M mark. And most likely rank in the top five countries with most cases for the day.

The NCR recorded a high 27.5% of the total cases today with more than 5,600 new cases. Other regions with 4 digits were: CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Western Visayas. The rest of the regions report triple digits. There were 53 unknowns on this category.

The provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Batangas were on the top five list among provinces with most cases.

And 13 of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities/municipalities in the country with most cases for the day. Baguio City and Davao City remain in the top ten as well.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

The data drop from the DoH was used in calculating for the four indicators on the situation in the National Capital Region. The indicators are ADAR (incidence rate), R (infection), Hospital Bed utilization and ICU utilization rate.

The average R for NCR is down to 0.94 (moderate risk) not including the data today. Ranked according to ADAR, five NCR LGUs are at moderate risk. They are: City of Manila, Malabon, Valenzuela and Pateros. Based on R, the cities of San Juan, Quezon City, and Marikina have R> 1.0. The cities with R<0.9 are: Pateros, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Las PiƱas, Manila, Malabon, Caloocan and Navotas.

The indicators used in the monitoring update do not reflect the alert level rating used by the Department of Health.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Philippines is now seeing a declining trend in cases as seen in the infographic data below. While the deaths are also lower now, this is erratic as there has been some problem with the recording of the deaths in the national database system and should be able to reconcile this soon.

Note that based on testing data for the week before, while the testing capacity has declined, the positivity rate has considerably increased. However, this is a summary of the previous week. The positivity rate in the past days has been lower than 25%. Hopefully, this is sustained in the weeks to come.

When compared to select Asian and ASEAN countries, the Philippines remains on top with a 7-day average of 18K+ daly cases. However, all nations are seeing a decline in cases except Singapore that is seeing a significant rise based on their population size.

As a matter of fact, comparing the effective R of the same Asian countries above, it is Singapore whose R has increased, while all the other ASEAN nations are seeing R<1.0. Japan’s R is at 0.46, a feat that all the other ASEAN countries must follow in order to bring the five digit cases down to four digits. As mentioned previously, it will take at least 4 weeks of R<0.7 to bring the five digit cases to 4 digit numbers.

Vaccination is still less than 25% of the total population (whether as a single dose or complete dose) in the Philippines, and here is where we stand compared to other countries in the world.

In many of these countries, the predominant variant of concern that is circulating is the delta variant. This VOC is responsible for the many resurgences seen in various countries, particularly those who have very low vaccination rates and those with breakthrough infections.

The slow decline with R < 1.00 and the data for 09.25.2021

The cases continued on the downward trend as the Health Agency reports 16,907 new cases today. With more than 27,000 recoveries, the active cases remain a high 165,000.

Close to 75,000 tests were done on September 23, with a positivity rate that has dropped 1% to 23.6% overnight.

At this rate, the Philippines should exceed 2.5M cases anytime next week.

Again there are no deaths reported for the second consecutive day because of problems with CovidKaya system.

NCR continued to enjoy a decent share of numbers with 23% of the total cases in the country today. While CALABARZON remained in steady second place, as its cases gradually decline and is in pace with the gradual decline of NCR, there are regions outside of NCR that are seeing increasing cases.

Central Visayas saw a sudden spike in cases with 2,416. Unusual coming from a previous day of triple digits and may most likely be due to previous backlog reports. Other regions that saw increased cases was CAR and Davao Region, whose numbers follow an actual trend.

On the other hand it was also unusual for the Zamboanga Peninsula to record only 21 cases. This time, most likely due to delayed reporting or under testing in the region.

There were 65 unknowns from a regional category.

On a provincial level, the surge in cases in Central Visayas put the province of Cebu in front to top the provinces with most cases, followed by Benguet province.

The increased cases is reflected in the LGU level. 10 of 17 LGUs in the NCR are among the top 20 cities/municipalities with most cases. Three LGUs in Cebu were in the list today – Cebu City (3rd), Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu City. Three LGUs in Benguet province were also in the top 20 – Baguio City (4th), Itogon, and La Trinidad.

No deaths (?!?!) and the data of 09.24.2021

The Health Agency reports 18,659 new cases as the active cases are up at more than 175,000 again.

There were more than 76,000 tests done on September 22 with much lower positivity at 24.2%.

There were no deaths reported today as the Health Agency reports another technical glitch in the CovidKaya program of the agency. Of course, we expect the deaths to pour in when CovidKaya is up and running.

The data from Prof. Guido David is shown in the table below, where all the 17 LGUs in the NCR’s average cases, growth rate, reproduction rate and incidence rate. The cities of Quezon City, Mandaluyong and San Juan have Rt >1.0. The overall Rt of the region is at 0.97 with a general negative growth rate.

The NCR reported a decent 24% of the total share of new COVID19 cases in the country today. Five other regions continued to report four digits: CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Region, and Davao Region.

On a provincial level, Cavite maintained its lead, while three other provinces in CALABARZON were among the top ten. They were: Laguna, Rizal and Batangas.

Twelve of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top twenty cities/municipalities with most cases for the day. Four LGUs from Region IVA were in the list, together with Davao City, Baguio City, Zamboanga City and Iloilo City.

As the R touches 1.0 and the data for 09.23.2021

Today was not a bad day with 17,411 cases reported by the Health Agency.

There were more than 71,000 tests done last September 21 and the positivity rate continues to slightly decline and was at 24.6% for that day.

ICU utilization, however in the NCR is up at a critical 80%.

Deaths reported was 177, placing the case fatality ratio for outcomes to 1.67%.

The NCR accounted for a little more than 25% of the total cases in the country today, with 4,505 cases. The other regions that had quadruple numbers were: CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, and Western Visayas. The rest of the regions saw triple digits except for BARMM that reported 77 cases.

It was good news that none of the provinces reported quadruple digits. Cavite and Rizal continued to lead among provinces with most cases, with Isabela coming in third.

Eleven of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top twenty, with 7 of them coming in from 1st to 7th rank. Davao City, Baguio, Bacolod and Iloilo are among the other cities in the top 20 list. Quezon City had more cases than the total cases of Manila, Pasig and Caloocan combined.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

The good news is that the reproduction numbers in key provinces/regions have touched 1.0 and below. The bad news is that this does not mean that the cases will flip significantly overnight. It will take time for the five digit numbers to turn to four digits. Notice that the country tipped more than 20,000 cases in the past weeks. Which means that as the reproduction number dips below one, there is a slowing down in growth of cases. Two things need to happen: it needs to stay lower than 0.7 consistently and the positivity rates need to go down quickly (testing more). Any incursions above 1.0 at anytime will set back all the gains made in the difficult lockdowns over the past months.

Good news, bad news on trends and the data of 09.22.2021

It’s a Wednesday. And the data showed a few hundred cases lower on Wednesdays than Tuesdays for the past weeks. But that may also be due to slightly more tests done on a Monday.

With that, the Health Agency announces 15,592 new cases today. With more than 24,000 recoveries the active cases are still high at more than 162,000.

Total tests done last September 20 for the data today were 53,349. The positivity rate was at 24.9% (a tad lower than the average daily positive rate for the country).

There are 154 new deaths bringing the case fatality ratio for outcomes to 1.65%.

The NCR remained on the lower range for total cases with around 23% of the share for the day. Four regions continued to have quadruple digits, while all the rest except Eastern Visayas had triple digits for the day. Central Visayas continued its downward trend and is seeing much fewer cases.

Among provinces, Cavite is back in the lead with many of the provinces in Northern Luzon among the top ten with highest cases.

Twelve of 17 LGUs in NCR are among the top twenty cities/municipalities with most cases, while 5 LGUs from CALABARZON are in the list. Davao City and Baguio City are among the top 10.

OCTA MONITORING REPORT

Let’s start with the bad news.

It’s been awhile since OCTA came out with its monitoring report. And the update at the height of the latest surge is a colorful one in the shade of red. Except for the province of Cebu, all the other regions and provinces in the list below are either critical or high risk in terms of the indicators for ADAR (incidence rate), and positivity rate. The 7-day average growth rate in these areas are generally in a negative trend including the epicenter NCR. Major areas of concern are the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Benguet, Laguna and Bataan.

The good news is that the National Capital Region continues to see lower cases over the past two weeks and this is seen in the infographic prepared by Prof. Guido David below.

For the readers perspective, the graph shows the surge in March/April 2021 and that of August/September 2021. The weekly growth rate saw a correlation in the reproduction number. As the reproduction number decreased the cases declined as well. Unfortunately, we were not able to sustain the decline in reproduction number. Keeping R very low is vital in containing the virus. That is why if you look at the left side of the graph (weekly growth rate), the increase is much higher than the decrease. As the R began to climb, so did the number of cases.

It is the R that dictates how we are doing and when we should be worried. When the R saw an incline in the middle of July, this was an ominous sign. When the growth rate begins to increase, it will be difficult to bring it down especially with a positivity rate that is critically high.

The good news is the downtrend and the obviously declining R for the NCR. Cases will still be high, but are slowing down. We need to just bring it below 1.0 and if can maintain it at 0.5 in the next 60 days, this will be a good holiday season.

Because it’s a Tuesday, passing the 2.4M and the data for 09.21.2021

It is after all a Tuesday. We expect lower cases.

The Health Agency reports 16,361 new cases. This was enough to push the total cases in the country past the 2.4M mark.

With 48,262 tests done September 19, the positivity rate was at 27%.

A total of 140 new deaths were announced today. The case fatality ratio for outcomes is lower at 1.68%.

Based on the data of the Department of Health (which was placed into better perspective by Prof. Guido David for the OCTA Research Group), the hospital beds in the NCR have already reached its maximum allowable utilization based on the healthcare worker capacity of the facilities. Hospital bed occupancy has slightly increased when comparing the April vs the August/September 2021 surge.

What stood out, however, was the ICU bed occupancy in Mega Manila. Notice that in the April surge, the highest ICU bed occupancy rate was in May. The August/September surge is a different story altogether by almost 50% more compared to the peak occupancy rate last May 2021.

NCR averaged less than expected accounting for around 20% of the total cases today. The region that saw a dramatic rise for the day were Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley. Both regions took third and fourth places respectively. Together with CAR, these three regions accounted for 26% of today’s cases. The 12 remaining regions in the country all reported triple digits.

In an unusual day, it was the province of Rizal that led on a provincial level followed by many provinces in the north: Pangasinan, Isabela, and Benguet.

With the rise in cases in the provinces, only 8 of the 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities/LGUs with most cases. Four LGUs were from CALABARZON. Davao City, Baguio City, San Fernando City (La Union) and the city of Cauayan (Cagayan) were in the top list.