Our best data to date and the data for 12.05.2021

The Health Agency reports 603 new cases based on 35,950 tests done last December 3 with 1.8% positivity rate. The active cases are now less than 14,000 but more than half of them are moderate to critically ill.

The Health Agency adds 156 deaths today, as the number of deaths approach the 50,000 mark.

NCR had 121 cases today or 20% of the total cases in the country. Western Visayas and Cagayan Valley reported more than 50 cases apiece.

On a provincial level, all provinces reported less than 30 cases, with Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Isabela having 27 cases each.

Quezon City was the only LGU that reported more than 20 cases, while all the rest of the LGUs in the top 20 report less than 20 cases. Only seven LGUs report 7 digits, while the rest report single digit cases. The fewest cases today for an LGU in the top 20 was 6.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The past two months has been a good one, as the numbers showed a sustained decline in new cases in the Philippines. And that’s the good news. This is our best sustained decline in the pandemic. And it is worthy to give credit where credit is due. This is a story of how vaccines are able to bring down a surge and with the limited vaccines the country received at the beginning of the two surges this year, the tactical approach to covering NCR, the densest city in the country (and one of the most dense in the world), and the nearby regions and other highly urbanized regions was truly remarkable.

The drop in cases was so significant that from a 7-day average of a little over 1,000/day last week, the PH now has a 7-day average less than 500 daily new cases. The deaths remain an unresolved problem as backlogs in accounting for the outcomes of those moderate to critically ill cases still hound the agency.

Nevertheless, here is a snapshot of the summary of cases (per capita), testing and reproduction number in the country. The current 7-day average is 4.48 cases/million population, with 3 tests per 10,000 population and a positivity rate that is at its lowest at 1.9% since the start of the pandemic. This puts our reproduction number down to 0.55 (+/- 0.05), our lowest since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Even when compared head to head with select Asian nations (the data below is on a per capita or based on the population of each country), the Philippines has single digit case per million. Indonesia has 1 per million population, while Japan has 0.8 per million population. Deaths are a different story, however, but this time, the burden is shifted to Vietnam and Singapore with more than 1.5 deaths/million population. Only Japan has <0.01 death/million population due to COVID-19.

Reproduction number in the same select countries shows that the Philippines is continuing the declining trajectory (but I feel it will plateau around this point soon), as it has the lowest reproduction number among these select nations. Note that South Korea and Vietnam continue to have R>1.0 as the former sees its highest cases since the beginning of the pandemic with more than 5,000 cases/day. Singapore has significantly and rapidly slowed down the reproduction number as the cases drop to 700 plus within a month from seeing more than 2,000 new daily cases. But that should not be a difficult task for Singapore because the country of less than 6M people have more than 90% vaccinated (>85% fully) and are able to manage the cases because of the smaller population size.

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