PH plateaus in cases as the economy reopens, East Asia in review and the data for 04.10.2022

The Health Agency announces 277 new cases with 39 added deaths today. The NCR accounted for 37% of today’s cases.

Cases in NCR with double digits was led by Caloocan City with 20 cases, followed by Pasay City 15, Manila 13 and Quezon City 10. While the rest had single digit numbers, 3 LGUs reported zero covid. The zero covid LGUs are: Pateros, Malabon and Navotas.

Outside of NCR, CALABARZON had the most provinces with double digit numbers. These are: Cavite, Laguna and Batangas with 13 each, and Rizal with 11. Iloilo had 12 cases (10 province, 2 city) and Cebu 11 (3 city, 8 province).

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

While we did see a very slight decline in cases, the data of the Philippines should be interpreted cautiously. That’s because unlike many other countries that continue to push for testing, the limited testing capacity OR the likelihood that an person with symptoms of COVID19 will get tested with RT-PCR (so that it is documented by the Health Agency) is very low.

In addition, the trough has more or less been reached in the country. The average cases will fall at around 300-400, as the reproduction number bumps up to 0.8 (+/- 0.05) as of April 6, 2022. Notice that the effective reproduction number has been climbing since February 12, 2022.

Of course, this is expected as the economy reopens and in many areas, particularly in highly urbanized cities, is in full swing. While there is nothing wrong with reviving an economy, in order to balance that with continuing to control and the keep the cases of COVID19 in the country at very low numbers, the public is advised to maintain minimum health standards and it is imperative that those who remain unvaccinated get vaccinated, while those that are eligible for booster vaccines, should get vaccinated. It is a moral obligation we each have to others in the community.

The death rate is erratic as the Health Agency continued to reporting lagging deaths. The daily death numbers are not reflective of the actual deaths for the day.

In East Asia, one will see that based on number of cases, South Korea continues to lead in the region (as well as in the world) but has managed to bring the cases lower. All other countries have lower reported cases this week, except for China and Taiwan, which have maintained their zero covid policies. Zero covid initiatives will not work with omicron variant. And that’s a fact that each government should realize.

On a per capita basis (based on population size), South Korea maintained the lead. Only Indonesia and the Philippines has single digit daily new confirmed cases per million population.

Notice however, the reproduction rate. This dizzying graph below shows Taiwan with R at 1.49 (cases are now at more than 500 daily) with China, Thailand and Japan continue to have an R>1.0. The Philippines, which used to have the lowest R is now up at 5th spot with R of 0.8 (and was even 0.95 a few days before).

With the exodus of the people during the Holy Week, mass gatherings due to the campaign sorties and the upcoming election fever, the country is ripe for an increase in the number of COVID19 cases. The borders are open, the business is back to normal, and a rise in numbers is inevitable.

Life goes on…

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