The downtrend with 13,273 cases and the data for 010.03.2021

The late report of the Health Agency due to glitches in COVIDKaya is back.

There are 13,273 new cases reported today but with a whopping over 45,000 recoveries, the active cases are down to a tad above 112,000. Tomorrow, the Philippines will surpass the next milestone with more than 2.6M cases.

Close to 65,000 tests were done last October 1, giving a positive rate of 20.2%. Hopefully, if we do more tests, we should be able to bring this down to less than 20% next week.

New deaths announced is 112 today.

NCR accounted for a moderate number of the total cases, up from a previous day of 19% to 22% today. First place Quezon City alone accounted for almost the same number of cases of four cities that ranked 2nd to 5th – Davao City, City of Manila, Zamboanga City, and Caloocan City.

On a regional level, Regions I, II and CAR continued to report high number of cases and made up for almost 24% of the total national cases.

The province of Isabela topped the provincial level.

Eleven of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top twenty cities/municipalities with most cases for the day, while the rest were from LGUs outside of Mega Manila.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It was a rollercoaster week as the Philippines saw a slight decline in its average daily cases. In spite of the lower 7-day average, it remained in the top 10 among countries with most cases in the world over the past week. The glitches in the data system added to the daily anxiety as the cases (and deaths) were announced late (or not at all).

So the good news is that we are seeing a decline in cases. The bad news is that it’s still considerably high compared to the March/April surge.

The disturbing part of the pandemic response in the country is the variability in testing capacity. We are second to Mexico, among countries that have low testing and therefore announce a high positivity rate. Tests are important because it helps identify those that are sick or asymptomatic. Patients positive for the virus are infective – where they are symptomatic or not. If you look at the daily data of the Department of Health, the asymptomatic account for an average of 15% of the active cases. A situation that is alarming because we are under estimating the numbers considering that testing capacity is low.

We cannot solely lie on vaccines to control the surge. We already know for a fact that people who are vaccinated have the potential to develop breakthrough infections and that patients who are vaccinated, get infected with delta variant, have the same viral load as non vaccinated individuals. The difference lies in the unvaccinated ending up sicker and more serious than non vaccinated people.

As the cases slow down, the reproduction number nationally is stable at 1.05 (+/- 0.05). Which isn’t too bad but isn’t declining more rapidly. The R in the NCR is lower than the national R. That is because the cases in other regions, especially Northern Luzon have dragged the R up.

Among select Asian nations, Singapore is currently dealing with their own problems of a surge that is spiraling as well. It is now in a more strict mode for mobility for its citizens. Note, however, that the other ASEAN countries have dropped their R much faster and consistently than the Philippines. And that is why testing counts a lot.

The same Asian countries above, it is the Philippines that leads in the most number for 7-day average. ALL ASEAN nations show a downward trend in cases, except for Singapore that is in an upward trajectory.

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