Keeps getting better and the data for 12.12.2021

The week closed with 402 new cases in the Philippines based on 1.2% positivity from close to 37,000 tests done last December 10. With just a few recoveries over active cases, the active cases are a tad above 11,000 – close to 54% being moderate to critically ill.

Additional 184 deaths are added today.

The NCR had 101 cases today, while all regions had less than 50 cases. Five regions had single digit cases. MIMAROPA was in second spot with 44 cases for today.

This is reflected on the provincial level as Palawan came in second among provinces with most cases for the day. All provinces in the top ten saw less than 20 cases.

Among LGUs, it was the City of Manila that stole the thunder from erstwhile leader Quezon City with 25 cases with the former and 20 in the latter. Puerto Princesa was the only other LGU with double digit cases at 10. All other LGUs in the top 20 saw single digit cases, with 3 being the lowest number in the list.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Another good week with an all time low of less than 350 new cases/day based on the 7-day average for the Philippines. Sadly, the unreconciled outcomes of close to half of the remaining active cases is responsible for the highly erratic data on deaths. Why is there a need to get fixated on deaths? Because mortality from a disease provides a mirror of the healthcare capacity of a nation. It also reflects the data management capability of the health agency in providing more real-time information.

So yes, while the cases are more or less recent (with a few more backlogs that need to be reconciled), the deaths are not.

As a matter of fact, our deaths are so erratically high (and low), that computing for the moving-average case fatality rate is a pain for the Philippines. And in Southeast Asia (and the whole Asian continent for that matter), the Philippines owns the highest moving-average case fatality rate at 9.43%. Computing for the moving-average CFR is the ratio between the 7-day average number of deaths and the 7-day average number of cases 10 days earlier.

A snapshot of how the country is doing in terms of tests, positivity rate, cases and reproduction rate shows excellent data. Positivity rate is at an all time low at 1.23% (7-day rolling average), and Rt is at 0.57 (+/- 0.05). While it is slightly up, it means that cases continue to fall. When the Rt is up while the cases are low, as long as it does not exceed 1.0, it means that the numbers are plateauing. This data only means that we still have the potential to see even lower cases in the upcoming week.

Notice the Rt among select Asian nations. South Korea and Vietnam still have Rt >1.0. This is what it means. Vietnam is currently seeing an average of 15,000 daily cases. With Rt at 1.09, it will still see numbers within that range (14,000-17,000) the upcoming week. It needs to bring this down to <1.0 before it will see numbers drop. With South Korea that is seeing an average of 6,000 new daily cases and an Rt of 1.29, they will remain in an upswing and expect to see more cases in the next week. It is highly likely that they may even touch the 10,000 mark.

Japan has a Rt of 0.99. But it is seeing 120 new daily cases (based on the 7-day average). This implies that with the very low cases being seen now, they will remain seeing the same number of daily cases.

The remarkable story here is that of Singapore, which has managed to turn around its cases from a previous high of over 5000 cases in October to just 600 new daily cases (based on the 7-day average) as of yesterday. And with a Rt of 0.56, they may be able to see even lower cases in the upcoming week, just like the Philippines.

An overall comparison of cases and deaths for COVID19 among the same select Asian and ASEAN nations per capita (per million population) shows that the Philippines just has 3-4 new daily cases per million population. If we are able to tread below 1.0, then that would actually be a feat at how well the country is dealing with the pandemic. As mentioned above, the Health Agency needs to clean up its data on patients whose outcomes have not been accounted for since 2020. There is still quite a large number to deal with, particularly those who were severe and critically ill. This is the reason why the number of cases and deaths are disproportionate. This is also the reason why the country has one of the highest per capita deaths in the region.

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