Worst in Southeast Asia and the data for 01.16.2022

It wasn’t really a very bad day as the Health Agency reports 37,154 new cases based on 81,381 tests with a positivity rate of 47.4%. As the recoveries comes in, the active cases are held slightly in check with more than 287,000 of them. Close to 98% are asymptomatic or mild.

With today’s additional cases, the Philippines now passes the 3.2M mark for total number of COVID-19 cases documented by RT-PCR as officially reported by the Department of Health.

In spite of the large number of daily cases, the hospital utilization rate is kept at moderate risk both nationally and in Mega Manila.

There are 50 added deaths today.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

From hero to zero.

That’s the story of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. While some would say that it may not be fair to call out the government response as to how we got from a few hundred cases to innumerable cases and a positivity rate that has skyrocketed beyond the country’s testing capacity, let’s just call a spade a spade.

Were we unprepared? Most likely, complacency got the best of us. As December approached and we saw a dramatic decline in cases, we were all prepared to embrace a sense of normalcy once more. After all, it has been quite some time that we’ve been moving from plan A to plan B to plan C to plan D.

Of course, we can always shift the blame to Omicron, the inevitable variant of concern that is highly transmissible in more ways than one. But as a people, we were partly responsible for getting to where we are today. And that, is water under the bridge.

The Philippines landed 13th rank among nations in the world with most cases yesterday, January 15, 2022. In Southeast Asia, the first spot officially goes to our country. The needle-rise pattern of cases which began in the National Capital Region in the Philippines has been responsible for the fourth and dramatic surge in the country. With cases averaging close to 20,000 a day in Mega Manila (not counting those who do not undergo PCR, because the Department of Health only reports PCR confirmed cases), the testing facilities have backlogs of 2-3 days now.

During the first week of the month, NCR accounted for more than 70% of the cases in the country. Over the past days, it has declined to a little less than 50% of the total share. While that may be some good news, the bad news is that with rising numbers, the shift in cases is now in the regions outside of Mega Manila.

Like fire that burns in the center, the rampage now moves to the periphery.

The sad part is that, while the NCR has (according the the government) vaccine coverage of around 90% with at least one dose, this is not the same situation in the provinces and regions outside of imperial Manila. Vaccinating these more vulnerable sectors in the areas that have recently been hit by natural calamity will be extremely challenging as the virus rapidly expands to these areas much faster than the vaccination program of the government.

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