The world at a glance with Omicron threat and the data for 12.19.2021

There are 203 new cases announced today by the Health Agency based on close to 29,000 tests with a positivity rate of 0.8% last December 17. The active cases remain at four digits (but can truly be lower if the Health Agency is able to resolve the backlog in cases. Notice that among the active cases, close to 58% are moderate to severe. Many of these were from 2020 to October 2021.)

There are 64 additional deaths announced today.

[Note: 45 laboratories did not submit data today, which accounted for at little more than 15% of tests and 1.8% of positives. These labs were mostly in the areas hit by typhoon Odette.]

The NCR accounted for 25% of the data of the day with 55 cases, mostly from the City of Manila that had 14 cases. Only a few regions had reported cases, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao because of the recent typhoon.

On a provincial level, only 4 provinces had low double digits and even among cities and municipalities, only 2 had double digits yesterday – the City of Manila and Dumaguete City.

THE WORLD IN REVIEW

As Christmas fast approaches, every nook and cranny is filled with revelers and the Philippines, which is making headway with the pandemic is in a semi-festive mood. After all, this Christmas is unlike last year where we all hunkered down in fear and where the numbers were up at more than 1250 new daily cases.

The graph below shows the daily new cases per capita (per million population) in the world. If you look closely, the world is averaging at least 80 new daily cases per million. But it is the European countries and the UK that is leading the pack with a trajectory unseen from last year. UK hits almost 1,000 new cases per million population or 1 in every 1,000 people have COVID-19 every day. France, Spain, Germany and Portugal – all countries in Europe – round up the top five countries in the world with most daily cases per capita. The surge in these areas pale compare to the surge that is ongoing in South Africa.

On the parameter of death, Russia leads with 7-8 deaths per million population. While we are seeing rising cases in South Africa, their deaths per million are lower than the Philippines. The average deaths in the world is at 0.87 deaths/million population.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Philippines is on a streak, and hopefully continues that way. Any slight glitch in how we are addressing this pandemic through an act of complacency will wipe out any gains made. It will simply be – BACK TO SQUARE ONE – for both the economy and healthcare.

For now, the 7-day average drops to 180 cases/day and deaths are at 87/day. The latter is mostly due to backlogs.

In a nutshell, the country is seeing 1.83 new cases/million population. Positivity rate is down to to 0.59% for a 7-day average and reproduction rate at 0.4 (+/- 0.05). The numbers are encouraging and with a Rt this low, there is still room for the numbers to continuously move down because of the low positivity rate.

Compared to select Asian nations, the Philippines remains one of three countries recording single digit cases per million, aside from Japan and Indonesia. Vietnam and South Korea lead the pack in terms of new confirmed cases and deaths per capita.

In terms of reproduction rate, Japan is up at 1.16 and South Korea at 1.12. But the increase in Rt of Japan is expected as they plateau at low numbers already. A Rt of 1.16 with 200 daily cases is not bad. With the winter season, countries in the northern hemisphere are expected to have a slight uptick in cases. Unlike Japan, however, the average daily cases in South Korea is at 6800. A Rt of 1.12 simply means that they will continue to see cases around this number with a potential to see a rise in the coming days.

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