A very low risk NCR for the holidays and the data 12.21.2021

The Health Agency reports 168 new cases (an all time low even during the beginning of the pandemic), with close to 23,000 tests done and 0.9% positivity last December 19. There are backlogs, which were not included in todays report. There is a very slow reconciliation of the status of the remaining 9,384 cases as close to 60% belong to the moderate to critical category. This is not in congruence with the data on ICU utilization in both the NCR and nationally.

Ten deaths are added today.

NCR recorded 47 cases today, will ALL LGUs in the NCR reporting single digit cases. The cities of Manila, Quezon City and Taguig equally contributing 7 cases each. Notice that there are fewer cases in Visayas and Mindanao due to the typhoon, affecting operating of “20 laboratories” based on the DoH report.

Cavite and Negros Occidental report double digits.

The fewest cases for an LGU to be in the top 10 is 4 for today.


As Christmas draws nearer, the numbers in the country and in Mega Manila continue on a downward trajectory. Which is, a good sign. It has been quite awhile that we’ve seen numbers this good – the ADAR is very low at 0.55, a Rt of 0.48 (for the past month with many cities even lower than 0.30), ICU utilization that is very low in most cities and a positivity rate of 0.6%. These numbers tell us one thing – that we will still see a lowering of cases in the upcoming week. And with the new cases averaging 78/day (7-day average), this should be a joyous occasion which should be celebrated with caution in order to usher in a perfect year for an economic rebound.

263 new cases and 45 deaths and the data for 12.20.2021

The holiday week and the malls are packed. The traffic is horrible. And as we revel in the season – please make sure that you still follow minimum health standards. If you’re not vaccinated, you are encouraged to be part of the herd.

The Health Agency announces its third Omicron variant case in an unvaccinated OFW traveling from Egypt via Qatar.

Today, there are 263 new cases from 28,438 tests done last December 18 with a 0.8% positivity rate. There are 17 laboratories with no submitted data amounting to 7.8% of the tested samples and 4.1% of positive individuals. The active cases are around 9500 with 58% of them classified as moderate to critical.

An additional 45 deaths are announced today.

While the NCR accounted for majority of the cases again, but it was the ROF (returning overseas Filipinos) that came in second with 57 cases! But wait, there’s more! Those 57 cases of the ROFs should actually be only 2. Fifty five of the 57 cases were ALL in July 2020. A backlog of almost 1 1/2 years, reported today. In short, had the data been real-time, there would be only 208 cases for today. More regions are now reporting single digits (which is good news).

Even on a provincial level, only three provinces report double digits, led by Zamboanga del Sur, Cavite and Rizal. The fewest cases among the top ten provinces had only 4 cases reported.

Among LGUs, the City of Manila has been in the lead the past few days and continued that lead among all LGUs in the country with 18 cases. All other LGUs report single digits – including Quezon City. Malabon, San Juan and Pateros continue to report zero (0) cases.

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.


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 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.

Finally, active cases are in the 4 digits and the data for 12.18.2021

The Health Agency cleaned up the new cases with yesterday’s report (see yesterday’s blog regarding the backlogs).

And announces 291 new cases (still with some lag, which will eventually get corrected in the future) based on 35,527 tests with a positivity of 0.9%. The 7-day average is now at at less than 200 cases/day. And with more recoveries than cases, the active cases touch the four-digit mark at 9,924. More than 56% of them are moderate to severe (and are backlogs which need to be accounted for).

There are 106 additional deaths today.

The NCR had 67 cases today. And while Las Piñas led among all LGUs with 13 cases in Mega Manila, 12 of these cases were backlogs – 9 in October, 2 in September and 1 last April 2021. Essentially, Las Piñas had only ONE case yesterday. However, it was not the same story for Iloilo, where the municipality of Pototan recorded the most cases on a city/municipality level all over the country.

So while Las Piñas was the only LGU in NCR that officially recorded double digits, in reality, it had only one ‘fresh’ case. This means that all LGUs in NCR had less than 10 cases for today.

582 new cases and 74 deaths and the data for 12.17.2021

With Typhoon Odette slamming most of the provinces in the Visayas, I hope that this will have minimal effect on the COVID-19 cases in the area, particularly among the evacuation centers.

I started off this blog with that news mainly because some people may attribute the increase in cases to the storm. The increase in cases today was due mainly to backlogs (which I said would be included in the subsequent days).

The Health Agency announces 582 new cases based on 33,535 tests done last December 15, with a 1% positivity rate. With more cases than recoveries, the active cases remain above the 10,000 mark. In addition, more than 55% of the active cases are moderate to severely ill.

There are 74 additional deaths today.

The cases today had more than 200 backlogs added, with most of them coming from NCR , CALABARZON and Central Luzon. The NCR owned 30% of the cases today with 174 new cases, followed by CALABARZON and Central Luzon. All other regions registered less than 50 cases, with 6 regions reporting single digit.

The provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Batangas owned the most cases with more than 30 cases apiece.

Nine LGUs in NCR were in the top 10 today as Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan City, Valenzuela, Taguig and Las Piñas reporting double digit cases.

The breakdown in the number of backlog cases reported for the top three regions are as follows:

The trend stays below 300 and the data for 12.16.2021

The Health Agency reports 289 new cases today based on more than 37,000 tests done last December 14 with a positivity rate of 0.9%. There has been some discrepancies in the past few days and we should see a correction in the number of new cases, hopefully within the week. As the number of recoveries are minimal, the number of active cases remain above 10,000. The moderate to critically ill are more than 56% now.

There are 47 additional deaths today, mainly from backlog reports.

While the cases remained less than 300 in the country, NCR contributed to more than 30% of the total cases for the day. Other regions report 30 and less cases with 7 regions reporting single digits.

Even on a provincial level, while Cebu province, Zamboanga and Negros Oriental had 13 cases apiece, this was still low numbers.

Quezon City and the City of Manila had the most cases on an LGU level, with numbers even more than the top provinces today.

The arrival of Omicron and the data for 12.15.2021

There was no way we could get away from Omicron. After all, 65 countries have reported its presence – either at its borders or as community transmission.

What we know about it is that it seems to take on a milder course than delta. But a shorter incubation period with a milder presentation can be dangerous for those who are unvaccinated because the spread will be more rapid. With barely less than 40% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, that leaves quite a greater percentage at risk. With the multiple mutations of Omicron, the monoclonal antibodies specific for this variant does not seem to be that effective at alleviating the course of the disease. Vaccine efficacy may pose a challenge as well. One study from Hong Kong shows that Sinovac, even at complete doses, do not seem to offer protection against a variant with multiple mutation points. Finally, there is data that points to the fact that patients who have previously had COVID-19 are at risk for getting reinfected with Omicron, albeit mildly, but no one really knows how the course will be in the more vulnerable population.

We stay vigilant and make sure that we practice minimum health standards ALWAYS. And even if it is the Christmas holidays, let’s make sure that we get vaccinated (for those that have not even received a single shot) so that we can keep ourselves protected and keep those masks on at all times. If you do not need to go to a Christmas party, don’t. Superspreader events, staged by political rallies should be avoided. After all, these politicians will not pay for your health care – or your funeral.

With that said, the Health Agency announces, 237 new cases today based on a little over 30,000 tests and 1% positivity last December 13. With more recoveries, the active cases remain on a decline and are just a tad above 10,000. Close to 57% of the actives are moderate to critical.

There are 100 deaths added today, majority of which are backlog reports.

NCR accounted for 20% of today’s total with 48 cases. Surprisingly it was Northern Mindanao that came in second with 27. Seven regions report single digits.

On a provincial level, it was Lanao del Norte that led the pack with 24 cases. Iligan City topped the LGUs with 22 cases and was the only LGU that had more than 20 cases. Three provinces had double digits, including Zamboanga del Sur and Iloilo. Three LGUs also had double digits, with Quezon City and Zamboanga City added to this list.

0.9% positivity rate, 235 cases and 10 deaths and the data for 12.14.2021

It’s a Tuesday. And a good day to announce this kind of data.

So we have 235 new cases, our lowest since April 26, 2020 based on 24,120 tests done last December 12, with a positivity rate of <1.0% (again our lowest). The active cases are slightly above 10,000 and at this trajectory, we should see active cases fall into the four digits this week. Unfortunately, more than 55% of the active cases are moderate to critical.

There are 10 deaths added today.

The NCR had one of the lowest cases in the whole pandemic with just 53 cases. All other regions reported double and single digit cases.

Only four provinces had double digits with 12 and less cases, while the others in the top 10 are single digit cases.

Among LGUs, only three cities report double digits – Manila, Quezon City and Davao City. The other top 10 LGUs have single cases with 3 cases as the fewest today.

NCR continues to be at very low risk and the data for 12.13.2021

The week before Christmas week begins on a good note with 360 new cases based on close to 36,000 tests done last December 11 with a 1.1% positivity rate. The active cases continue to decline but is still relatively high as the backlog among these remain unresolved. This accounts for the close to 55% active cases falling under moderate to critical category.

Additional 61 deaths (mostly from backlogs as well) are added today.

With lowering cases, beginning this issue, the LGU will feature only the top 10 for the day. Other presentations – by region, NCR and by province will remain the same.

NCR reports 65 cases today or 18% of the total cases in the country. All other regions report less than 35 cases, with three regions having only single digit cases.

Among provinces, Negros Occidental led with 23 cases while all the rest had 20 cases or less.

On an LGU level, Quezon City and General Santos were the only ones with double digit cases at 13 apiece. All other LGUs report single digit with 6 cases as the fewest in the top TEN list.

In NCR, only Quezon City had double digit cases with all the remaining cities reporting single digit cases and three LGUs having ZERO covid. They latter are: Navotas, San Juan, and Pateros.


Of course the week needs to start with some good news first. In a region of close to 15M people, having 91 new daily cases is the icing on the cake.

All 17 LGUs in the NCR are at either low or very low risk. Only the cities of Muntinlupa, Quezon City, Malabon and Makati are at low risk, while the rest are at very low risk. This is because while the cases in Muntinlupa City average 2/day and continues to have a decrease in growth, an ADAR of 0.37 and an R of 0.29, its health care utilization rate is at 37% and the ICU rate is moderate at 61%. The hospital that leads in the ICU rate based on the website of the Department of Health is Ospital ng Muntinlupa. Strangely, Ospital ng Muntilupa has a 66.7% occupancy for their ICU (8 of 12), yet NONE of the patients in the hospital are moderate to critical. COVID-19 suspects are admitted to the ICU in Ospital ng Muntinlupa.

The other cities that are considered low risk are classified into this category considering their HCUR being above 30% and ICU rates at more than 30% as well.

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.


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.