The world in review and the data for 12.04.2022

The Health Agency announces 1173 new cases with 35% still coming from NCR and a positivity rate of 12.3%. There are 24 added deaths today.

NCR was led by Quezon City with 94 and Manila 72 cases. Other double digit numbers came from the following LGUs: Taguig 34, Makati 31, 28, Caloocan 24, Muntinlupa 23, Las Piñas 21, Parañaque 19, Marikina 17, Valenzuela 11, Mandaluyong 10.

Provinces with more than 30 cases were: Cavite 64, Negros Occidental 48, Laguna 46, Rizal 45, Cebu 41, Pangasinan 30.

THE GLOBAL DATA AS OF 27 NOVEMBER 2022 (NOV 30, ED 120, PUBLICATION WHO)

The world saw a very slight upward change in numbers for the week of November 21-27, 2022 compared to the previous week. However, the number of weekly deaths continued to decline by 5%.

On a regional level, the case numbers increased in two WHO regions: the Region of the Americas (+19%) and the Western Pacific Region (+8%). The Philippines is classified under the Western Pacific Region. Deaths declined in three regions but increased in the Region of the Americas (+21%), the Western Pacific Region (+9%), and the South-East Asia Region (+5%). Note that the increasing deaths in the Region of the Americas is mainly due to deaths in the elderly population in the United States who have developed COVID-19.

At the country level, highest cases in the world came from Japan (which saw a large jump of 18%), the Republic of Korea (up by 4%), the United States of America (up by 8%), France (decline by 1%), and Italy (declining by 27%). Deaths were topped in the USA (+16%), Japan (+42%), Brazil (+113%) , Italy (-22%) and China (-17%).

The World Health Organization is worried that the trends in reported COVID-19 cases are declining not due to the fact that pandemic is slowing down but in reality many countries have changed the testing strategies, resulting in overall lower case numbers of tests done and hence, lower numbers of cases detected. In the Philippines alone, the average PCT tests performed are at an all time low of 12,500 tests per day. This accounts for the high positivity rate in the country (12.2%) in spite of the low numbers reported. The number of reported COVID-19 cases is an underestimate of the actual number of cases in the population, making the prevalence reports unreliable on the true prevalence of the pandemic in the individual countries and globally.

The cases in East Asia are being driven by increasing cases seen in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. China is also seeing a rise in the number of COVID 19 cases, making their ZERO COVID policy a very difficult balancing act to implement against the economy of the country.

Reproduction numbers are up in many East Asian nations, including the Philippines which is at 1.00 (+/- 0.05). This means that with the high positivity rate in the Philippines, the potential to see the number of cases jump up is high as the holiday season approaches. In addition, the low case reports in spite of the high positivity means that we are underestimating the true numbers and that complacency and lax protocols as the Christmas get-togethers are at hand are likely to increase the COVID cases as this month.

As the economic train moves towards the pre-pandemic rate, a ‘pandemic is over’ attitude is, as Eric Topol would put it, “blatantly off base”. Ignoring the circulating virus will not make it go away. Ignoring it will not make things better. Ignoring it would simply be irresponsible towards other people who are immunocompromised. Ignoring it will make us turn away from observing protocols on public health – hand washing, masking when in crowded areas, proper ventilation, isolating when positive and testing when we have symptoms.

Ignoring this will throw away the gains made in the last 3 years. And going back to square one is not worth all that ignoring.

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