Triple digit week, the week in review and the data for 11.28.2021

The Health Agency announces 863 new cases today as the number of deaths continue to record triple digits at 156 for the day. This is based on more than 34,000 tests with a positivity rate of 2.4% on November 26.

Number of active cases are down to a little more than 16,000 with close to 45% moderate to critical in status.

While the NCR continued to record the highest cases among the regions (it is after all the densest in the country) accounting for almost 20% of the total number in the country today, other regions continued to report double digits. Only BARMM reported single digit cases.

Even on a provincial level, none of the provinces reported more than 50 cases, with Negros Oriental having the most cases.

Zamboanga City continued to lead among LGUs with highest cases, while 8 of 17 LGUs in NCR were in the top 20 cities/municipalities with most cases for today. The fewest cases in the top 20 was 8. With LGUs reporting less than 40 cases and many LGUs reporting 10 cases and less, will we touch the 500 mark this coming week?

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

It wasn’t a bad week for the Philippines and many Asian nations. In spite of the news of Omicron as the new variant of concern emanating from Africa and now found in other parts of Europe and Hong Kong, here’s a run down on the week that was.

The 7-day average is down to around 1000 cases/day while deaths are still in the three digit numbers due to the backlogs and late death reports from the Health Agency. Many of these deaths were still months back and not real-time.

Over-all, was a good week as the positivity rate and hospital utilization rate continued to drop. The reproduction number stayed at a decent 0.7 (+/- 0.05), and has been <1.0 for the past month. As long as there is no rise in this number, we will continue to see triple digit trends in cases for December (sadly, as well as deaths because of the backlogs).

The country is faring incredibly well compared to select Asian countries. Although Singapore is seeing a large dip in its reproduction rate from 0.9 to 0.76, the slight increase in Ro of other countries just points to the fact that low numbers are stable (and will stay that way hopefully as long as we continue to accelerate vaccination and observe health protocols in spite getting vaccinated).

On a per capita basis (cases and deaths per million), Singapore continues to take the lead (but there are more cases reported for Vietnam one should remember that Singapore is a tiny nation with less than 6M people). The Philippines joined Indonesia in reporting single digit cases per million population as it recorded 9 new case/M population for its 7-day rolling average.

Unfortunately with the backlogs, the Philippines continued its lead on death reports in these select Asian nations with 1.70/M deaths.

With the global reaction to Omicron, it is best that we remain vigilant and not get too excited at reopening the borders too broadly. There will be some sacrifices we will need to make, and some of them will need to weigh benefits over risk. For now, because of the many unknowns on Omicron, erring on the side of caution is the way to go.

Preparing for a storm – whether it arrives or not – will always be the most prudent action.

Get vaccinated. And keep practicing minimum health standards.

The situation may look safe now, until you test positive.

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