The final twist for 2021 and the data for 12.31.2021

So here’s how the year ends.

The positivity rate jumps to 10.6% (really bad from 6%) overnight. And with a little more than 30,000 tested on December 29, 2021, the Health Agency announces 2,961 new cases, bringing the active cases to an astounding 14,233 with a sharp rise in mild cases.

The ICU rate utilization is slightly up, particularly in the NCR by an average of 2-3%.

There are 132 deaths added today.

While NCR accounts for almost 68% of the total cases today, notice how quickly CALABARZON and Central Luzon’s cases are climbing as well. The exponential rise in cases due to a combined force of holiday gatherings and the possibility of local transmission of Omicron and continuing transmission of Delta has placed a set back in our national effort at containing the pandemic in the country.

On a provincial level, the top five provinces today were from regions IVa and III.

And all LGUs in NCR, except for Pateros were in the top 20 LGUs with most cases for the day, led by the Cit of Manila with 571 cases and Quezon City with 366. Three other cities report triple digits today – Taguig, Makati and Caloocan.

We’re back to a very bad day and the data for 12.30.2021

No frills. Just the facts and we’re just doubling each day.

The Health Agency announces 1,623 new cases (still under reported) based on close to 31,000 tests done last December 28 with a 6.6% positivity rate. The active cases are up at close to 12,000 with many ‘fresh’ asymptomatic and mild cases, that is now up at 53.6%.

There are 133 deaths added today.

NCR accounted for more than two-thirds of todays case load. And while it now has more than 1,000 new cases, the adjacent regions CALABARZON and Central Luzon are seeing an uptick in their cases as well. The same pattern is clear, when NCR hiccups, its contingent areas become affected quickly. It will not be surprising to see these regions with increasing cases after the New Year. Regions IVA and III report triple digits today.

On a provincial level, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, and Batangas are back in the top ten.

But it is the picture at the LGU level that makes the difference, where ALL LGUs in NCR are in the top 20 LGUs with most cases in the country, except for Malabon. However, all LGUs in NCR, including Pateros that has been reporting zero COVID cases for the past week, report double digit cases.

The City of Manila and Quezon City take the lead with 351 and 171 new cases apiece, respectively. And with this data, the Rt of the City of Manila is now at a staggering 4.


When I say the numbers do not look good, I am not exaggerating. The OCTA Monitoring Report for December 30 shows a very steep trajectory of cases in Mega Manila, higher than the average daily cases over a month ago. And while we can go ahead and blame the dancing and prancing and holiday spirit, gatherings and reunions, one thing stands out clearly – the cases are up. Reproduction number its at 1.47 for Mega Manila, far higher than the national average. And the Rt is based on the reported cases (and we all know that there’s under reporting from the Health Agency).

Why is this of concern?

Primarily, the indicators pushed the NCR from very low risk status to moderate risk in a matter of just a week. Yes, 7 days. Some say that it was inevitable. I say, it was avoidable. 7-day average new cases are triple, testing is lower by 20%, the ADAR is up thrice, the positivity rate for testing is also up from 0.69% to 3.86%, and the Rt leapt thrice. While healthcare utilization rate is stable at just a 1% increase, we all know that HCUR is a lagging indicator.

The summary and recommendations may be a pill that’s difficult to swallow, as it is just a few hours before the New Year revelry. If plans need to change, then so be it. But I’m sure that even with the undercounting, many of the readers can relate to the fact that the rise in cases is real. And that your New Year plans have just been struck down.

For those who are still tagged “safe”, please, don’t waste a few hours of revelry on something we will all regret.

Stay safe!

889 new cases, a positivity rate at 4.5% and the data for 12.29.2021

Two days before 2022 and the Health Agency reports 889 new cases based on test 27,615 tests done with a 4.5% positivity rate last December 27. This means that there is a backlog of around 400 cases which most likely are still being verified or that patients may have been retested but are still testing positive and therefore are not included as a new case (which I think will not comprise the bulk of the unreported cases today).

The active cases are up at past the 10,000 mark as the number of mild and asymptomatic cases make a jump to 47.2%. The ICU bed utilization is also up by 1-2% nationally and in the National Capital Region.

There are 28 additional deaths.

The NCR accounted for almost two-thirds of all the 889 cases seen today. And as these cases remain underreported, NCR most likely would see a large uptick in new COVID-19 cases in the subsequent days. CALABARZON and Central Luzon is seeing a pattern of a slow uptick as well, and as NCR hiccups, so will the surrounding regions.

It is the City of Manila that is driving the troublesome data in the NCR, followed by Quezon City. Many of the LGUs are back in double digit form and all are reporting at least single digit cases. All LGUs in the top ten in the country are from NCR except for Zamboanga City. The lowest number of cases for the day is 20. And that’s a large leap from what used to be low single digit cases.

Some LGUs in NCR are bothersome and the data for 12.28.2021

As the year draws to a close, the country is seeing slightly higher cases driven by a jump in the positivity rate and lower tests during the holiday season. This is primarily driven by Mega Manila that accounts for around 40% of the total daily cases.

The Health Agency reports 421 new cases today based on a paltry 18,122 tests done last December 26, with a positivity rate up at 2.6%. Note that a week ago, the positivity rate was at 0.9%. This pushes up the active cases to 9,750, with more than 56% presenting as moderate to critical. Majority of the new cases are mild cases. Only 5% of the active cases are asymptomatic.

Incidentally, 16 laboratories were unable to submit data, while 2 were non operational on December 26, making up 2.9% of all samples tested and 2.4% of positive individuals.

There are 2 deaths added today.

The NCR was responsible for 42% of the total cases in the country today and the only region with triple digits and is back on top as the region that is most unsettling. Notice, however, that CALABARZON and Central Luzon is seeing an upward bump also in its cases. The pattern is clear. When NCR jumps, so do Regions IVA and III.

Among provinces, it was the province of Bulacan that led with 25 cases and all other provinces in the top ten with double digits.

In NCR, it was the City of Manila that is now the epicenter of the cases in Mega Manila, with 66 new cases or 37.5% of the total cases in NCR. Four additional LGUs in NCR see double digits – Quezon City, Makati, Parañaque and Caloocan City. Among the top 10 LGUs in the Philippines, the fewest number of cases is 5.


The holiday revelry tests the resiliency of the densest region in the country – Mega Manila. With close to 14M people residing in an area of 660 square kilometer, this tiny region is the epicenter of the COVID-19 cases in the country. And with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, in spite of the mandatory work on December 24 and the upcoming 31st of the month (days that used to be holidays by decree of the President), the mobility of the region shot up to pre-pandemic levels.

And so did its COVID19 cases.

The average new cases jumped from 77 to 126/day, with the ADAR up at 0.89 and the Rt approaching 1.0. Positivity rate is also up at 1.68% from a previous low of 0.48%. While five LGUs remain at very low risk based on the metrics for classification of, ten LGUs are now at low risk (up from very low risk), and two are at moderate risk due to an increase in reproduction number. These two LGUs at moderate risk are the City of Manila, which saw a 121% increase in cases, and an RT at 1.57. The City of San Juan also joined Manila in the moderate risk category with an ADAR of 4.53 (remember that San Juan is a very small city), and an Rt at 1.82, the highest among all the LGUs.

Low testing and increasing positivity rate and the data of 12.27.2021

The positivity rate for tests is up at 2.2% as the number of tests done last Christmas Day was less than 15,000. This is up from a low of 0.9% a few days ago, which means that unless people are positive, they won’t get tested. Which is not good. Remember, if you come in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, you need to be in QUARANTINE and get tested. Just because you are vaccinated or do not have symptoms does not mean you are negative. That is being presumptuous.

In the meantime, with that few number of tests, the Health Agency announced 318 new cases today with close to 58% of the active cases of 9,579 being moderate to critically ill.

There are 11 additional deaths today.

The NCR continued to report triple digits as its Rt jumps from 0.44 (lowest in December 3) to 0.9 today an accounting for 41% of the total cases in the country. The trend has been an average share of 40% of the total national cases – which isn’t really a good sign considering that it’s been on the low 10-15% a few weeks back.

Again, on a provincial level, the top ten provinces continue to report less than 20 new daily cases.

On an LGU level, the City of Manila led once more with 38 (29.2%) of the total cases in Mega Manila. This was followed by Quezon City with 23, while Mandaluyong and Caloocan were the other 2 cities that reported double digits. These four cities in the NCR also were the only LGUs that reported double digit cases in the whole country today. The fewest cases in an LGU recorded today was 5.

Will we see an uptick after the holidays (?) and the data for 12.26.2021

For the second day in a row, the cases are more than 400 as the Health Agency announces 433 new cases today. With fewer recoveries, the active cases are now at more than 9500. Todays numbers are based on a very low 21,116 tests done last December 24 with 2% positivity rate.

Thirteen deaths are added today.

NCR accounted for more than 50% of the cases in the country today with the City of Manila owning almost 28% of the cases in Mega Manila. Eight LGUs in NCR posted double digit cases.

Even the top 10 provinces continued to see low cases (<20) compared to NCR.

All LGUs in the top ten recorded double digit numbers today and all except the City of Manila and Quezon City recorded less than 20 cases. The fewest number of cases in the top 10 LGUs today was 11.


This year’s surge was a test of how variants can change the pandemic response game plan. As vaccines and therapeutics came into the picture, so did mutations in SARS-COV-2. And a game changer they were, as Delta and Omicron merged to become a perfect storm, overtaking gains in the discovery of vaccines. The bugs were (or should I say, are) one step ahead of humans, as the evolve for the same purpose we do – self-preservation.

After the discovery of Omicron in late November, the speed and stealth of this newest variant has upended the holiday season in many countries worldwide – particularly Northern America and Europe.

Back in Asia, that grappled through the summer with Delta, most of the countries are seeing a slowing down in their new COVID-19 cases. Other Asian countries are seeing an increase in numbers but are able to considerably manage a disproportionate surge.

It’s been a relatively stable week for the Philippines. It is important to remember, that considering the infectivity and course of disease for SARS-COV-2, the current data is reflection of being infected anywhere between the past 3-14 days. The Philippines continued to maintain a low 7-day average of cases, but the Health Agency couldn’t seem to grapple with how it would handle the delayed death reports as the data on deaths take a see saw swing the past months.

Compared to other select Asian nations, the Philippines is now second to the lowest in new cases (based on a 7-day average) in the region, but because of the unstable accounting on deaths, is in fourth spot among the same select countries. Vietnam has the highest cases and deaths per capita compared to all the other Asian nations. It is also the reason why Vietnam, once the darling of control for COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic by shutting its borders, is now last of 53 nations in the Bloomberg Resiliency Index.

The parameters on new cases, tests, positivity rate per capita and the current reproduction rate shows that the Philippines is holding up pre-holiday season data.

Reproduction rate in the same select Asian nations show that Japan is now up at 1.37. Note that Japan used to enjoy double digit cases, but is now seeing an average of 250-300 new daily cases, most likely due to the seasonal drift. While the Philippines may currently have the lowest reproduction number, it is Singapore that did an amazing job at being able to bring down its Rt to 0.57 in just a matter of 6 weeks. f course, arguably, it is much easier to contain a pandemic in a population of less than 6 million than in one where the population size is more than 110 million.

Anything can change drastically and dramatically in a week. The next report will come on a Sunday, a day after 2021 ends. How will the data hold up?

The data for Christmas Day 12.25.2021

With a slight uptick in cases in the National Capital Region (including positivity rate), there is a cause to be worried. First, there are less people that tend to get tested during the holiday season. Second, since many may have been vaccinated (either partially or in full or even have received boosters), it is not far-fetched that people tend to put their guards down – congregate freely, get lost in the revelry, forget that minimum health protocols need to continuously be observed, and make wise informed choices on mobility at a time of a pandemic in spite of lower cases in the community. Third, many have the misconception that getting vaccinated is tantamount to not getting infected and that vaccinated people who get exposed to those who are infected will absolutely not get sick.

So yes, the numbers are slightly up with the Health Agency announcing 433 new cases based on a little over 25,000 tests with 1.6% positivity and more cases than recoveries for December 23.

While hospital bed utilization and ICU rates may be on the low side for now (if disease present mildly, hospitalization may not be affected yet or may be too early to track as patients who are sick do not necessarily need to be hospitalized). Note that there is an increase in the asymptomatic to mild infections (which can point to patients who have been vaccinated or have even had previous infections), which may not necessitate confinement, for now.

There are 137 deaths added today.

NCR continued its uptick in cases, this time with 201 new cases added – accounting for almost half the cases in the country for the report on Christmas Day. This was led by the City of Manila that accounted for 14% of the cases in Mega Manila and 6 other LGUs with double digits for the day. While the cases are not alarmingly high, the pattern of a slight uptick should be taken seriously as those tested are underreported, especially when little to no contact tracing is performed among those exposed.

On a provincial level, eight provinces report double digits but all had less than 20 cases.

All the LGUs in the top ten list report double digits except for the city of San Juan. The fewest cases in the top ten list is up, with the fewest at 9.

A day before Christmas and the data for 12.24.2021

It’s just a few hours before we celebrate the most awaited occasion of the year – Christmas Day.

As we revel in the celebration, it is a gentle reminder that while we celebrate this most wondrous occasion of the year, let us make sure that it is done with utmost regard for minimum health protocols as we are all still in a pandemic.

I also call out everyone to extend their blessings to share with those most affected by Typhoon Odette that struck many parts of Visayas last week. Sharing with them our largesse is the best way to celebrate the birth of Christ.

The Health Agency reports 310 new cases based on 1.4% positivity (which is up from a previous <1.0%) with only 28,561 tests done on December 22. More cases than recoveries puts the active cases at 9,321 – with slightly around 60% of them moderate to critically ill.

There are 69 additional deaths today enough to push the total deaths to more than 51,000.

NCR had a small but worrisome rise in cases owning 42% of the total cases for the country today with 129 cases. Notice how all the other regions maintained lower cases with 9 regions reporting single digit cases. It’s been awhile since NCR saw triple digits and the Christmas rush has contributed to this rise (including positivity rate which is up in NCR as well).

On a provincial level, Rizal, Iloilo and Isabela had very low double digits but led among provinces.

And on an LGU level, NCR cities dominated 9 out of 10 spots in the top ten, with 5 of the NCR LGUs reporting double digits and the City of Manila reporting the highest cases at 31.

288 new cases and positivity up at 1.1% and the data for 12.23.2021

It’s two days before Christmas and the situation doesn’t look good for a festive occasion.

Many have departed for various holiday destinations. Others are leaving for a hometown reunion. And as the virus continues to evolve on its own, a world that is tired of all these health protocol mandates and quarantine and isolation requirements and whose economies have fallen face first on the ground is teetering on thin ice with Omicron on top of Delta.

Yesterday saw many countries with soaring numbers. The top five countries were: USA, UK, France, Spain and Germany. The US led in highest number of new deaths for a single day. Russia came in second with most deaths.

The Health Agency announces 288 new cases and with more cases than recoveries, the total recovered stay above 9,000. The new cases stem from more than 32,000 tests done last December 21 with a 1.1% positivity rate. Again, there were 13 laboratories that did not submit test results (2 not operation and 11 unable to submit data) and accounts for 9.1% of the total samples or 4% of the positive cases for the day.

An additional 65 people were announced to have died from COVID-19 (many of which are backlog reports).

The NCR accounted for the largest share today with almost 1/3 of the cases coming from this region and 4 cities – Las Piñas, San Juan, Quezon City and the City of Manila – contributing to the bulk of the data for Mega Manila.

Five provinces reported double digit cases (while less than 20), led by Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Five LGUs all over the country report double digits today. The fewest cases in the top 10 LGUs was up at 6.

261 new cases and 122 deaths and the data for 12.22.2021

Three days before Christmas and the holiday rush is as real as it gets.

The traffic is heavy and malls and restaurants are full. The exodus from NCR will most likely be palpable tomorrow, but since the 24th and 31st are working days, people will really need to use their unused leaves for this purpose.

It is, after all, the holiday season and while the data show that the Philippines is able to keep the numbers low, we can all continue to make sure that these numbers remain low in spite of the urge to “celebrate” unabashedly the holidays.

With that reminder, the Health Agency announces 261 new cases based on close to 30,000 tests with a positivity rate of 0.9% last December 20. The active cases remain above 9,000 as the moderate to critical cases now make up more than 60% of the actives.

There are 122 additional deaths today.

NCR recorded 31% of the cases today with 80 new cases, led by the City of Manila with 17 and Quezon City with 16. The data may not be a clear reflection on the actual cases in the country as several laboratories in the Visayas area affected by Typhoon Odette are not reporting tests (and the community may not be testing as well).

Zamboanga del Sur, Pangasinan, and Rizal provinces report double digits while the rest in the top 10 are single digit cases.

Fewest number of cases for an LGU to be in the top 10 LGUs for the day is 4.