The Health Agency announces 330 new cases and 131 added deaths to the COVID 19 data today.
The NCR accounted for a 25% (unusually low) share of today’s cases with 84. Only three LGUs had double digit numbers in the NCR – City of Manila 22, Quezon City 14, and Makati 11. The rest had single digit cases with Navotas and Pateros reporting zero covid.
Outside of NCR, the following provinces reported double digits today: Cavite 13, Laguna 12, Rizal 20, Iloilo 25 (19 province, 6 city), and Cebu 20 (9 city, 11 province). The rest of the country reported single digit or zero covid cases.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
While the new cases continue to decline in the Philippines, it has slowed down. And has most likely reached a trough – or a level of numbers that the country will continue to report daily.
What does this mean?
The number of COVID-19 cases will remain at the range of 350-450 as our lowest possible numbers. Notice that the reproduction rate is up at 0.77 (+/- 0.05). If Rt is at 1.0, that means that whatever number the cases are, they remain the same already. But 1.0 is not an ideal number to be at. To control the viral spread, we need to ideally remain at 0.5. This value provides us leverage in suppressing any unusual bump up in cases in the immediate future.
The graphs below show us the average cases (7-day moving) in the country at 432 per day (around 4 per million population). Several factors affect the low cases, including the non-testing of symptomatic patients (they simply go into isolation) and not contact tracing any longer.
With the backlogs on death reports being reconciled, the Philippines recorded two consecutive days of deaths >200, putting the 7-day average at 118.86 (or 1 death per million population).
The figure below shows the effective reproduction rate of COVID-19 in the country. Notice that it is now up at 0.77 (+/- 0.05). This rise explains the very slow decline in cases (almost reaching a trough) and that the country needs to work harder at continuously pushing the Rt lower (preferably 0.5 and below). Otherwise, the decline will not be sustainable especially with current campaign period and the upcoming national presidential elections.
Here’s a look at how other countries in East Asia are doing.
Most of the countries, except for China are now seeing a decline in new cases, with South Korea averaging 350,000 new daily cases and Vietnam 200,000. On a per capita basis, South Korea continues to lead with around 6900 cases per million population, followed by Vietnam with 2000 per million, Hong Kong with 1790 per million and Singapore with 1670 per million population.
Back to effective reproduction rate. Notice how quickly the Rt in other countries are now coming down. While the Philippines may have been the darling of East Asia in the control of the pandemic, other countries continue the decline in Rt, except for the PH which is up at 0.77 from a previous week of 0.53. This simply translates to the fact that the decreasing cases has slowed down significantly and that all efforts at bringing it lower should be exhausted, particularly in the minimum public health standards and the push to receiving booster shots when available and recommended for a particular group or age.
If there is one take home message this week in review emphasizes, it is the volatile condition of this pandemic. And the fact that 1/3 of the country’s total cases are from the NCR, the epicenter in the Philippines. The share of the NCR is always larger as the cases continue to decrease.