We need to test more people…the data drop: 04.01.2021

The first day of April looks like it’s opening on a better note with 8,920 cases reported by the Health Agency for Maundy Thursday. But it isn’t.

As you comb through the infographics for the day, one can easily deduce that the lockdown and the calls for a stricter lockdown came two weeks late. Had the call been made two weeks ago, we would not be struggling the way we are today. Healthcare capacities have now breached the critical level of 70 percent. This data is inaccurate and most likely underreported as almost all hospitals in Mega Manila see queues of patients waiting at the throngs of the Emergency Rooms for someone to even attend to them.

The positivity rate is at an all time high of 21.1 percent (or almost 1 in every 4-5 people tested ending up positive for COVID-19). Worst of all is the number of active cases which are almost 140,000 or 18.4 percent of the total cases. This is one of the highest number of active cases in the world based on the number of positive cases for COVID-19. Unless the positivity rate drops together with the number of active cases, this surge will not be controlled before Easter Sunday and the ECQ should be extended further, notwithstanding the economic concerns of the business sector.

Why are we still seeing high cases in spite of the ECQ? And are the slightly lower cases the past two days due to the ECQ?

The answer is NO. The ECQ is not a miracle solution. The incubation period of SARS-COV2 is between 2-14 days. The duration of the incubation period here makes the control of the infectiousness of this virus a challenge. Shortening the duration of lockdowns and quarantine or isolation have the potential to create a false sense of complacency among patients who are asymptomatic and are not all tested and thereby jeopardizing any gain made from stricter lockdowns. Mobility is the key driver to this infectious disease, and sadly, is also the key driver to economic revival in the country. With the NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon contributing to an average of 80 percent of the daily total cases and are major centers of commerce in the country, the delicate balance of healthcare and economy may tip heavily in favor of the economy if the government does not offer assistance (financially or in kind or as tax rebates) to the business sector and the community. Shortening the stricter lockdown will have serious consequences to the healthcare sector and any gain made during the stricter lockdown can be wiped out in a week when easing mobility is considered.

The National Capital Region reports more than 5,000 cases today, marking a grim moment as it registers more than 56 percent of the total cases in the country. This is the highest percentage share for NCR in the past days. CALABARZON has 1,684 (19 percent), followed by Central Luzon with 882 (10 percent). These three regions alone account for an astounding 85 percent of the total cases in the country for today.

There were 45 ROFs included in todays case count and 31 cases with no information on a regional level.

In Mega Manila, Quezon City continued its quadruple digit roll with 1,047 cases (21 percent), followed by Manila with 783. Pasig is third with 410. Taguig, Caloocan, Makati, Marikina had less than 400 but more than 300 cases. Parañaque and Pasay had less than 300 but more than 200 cases. The cities with more than 100 but less than 200 cases were: Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa. There were 13 cases from unknown LGUs.

As in the past days, 14 of 17 LGUs in NCR continue to dominate the top 20 cities with most cases, with ranks 1 to 12 all belonging to the NCR.

Among the provinces, Cavite led the pack with 527 cases. Three provinces in the CALABARZON region were among the top five. Aside from Cavite, Rizal and Laguna were those provinces.

106 deaths on the last day of March…the data drop: 03.31.2021

While there were relatively fewer new cases reported today, it was the deaths that took center stage during the 4PM announcement of the Department of Health daily COVID-19 situation.

There were 6,128 new cases reported today with 106 new deaths and less than 500 recoveries. This brings the total number of active cases to more than 130,000 or close to 18 percent! The total cases of COVID-19 in the country now approaches 750,000. While the Health Agency announces 19.9 percent positivity for March 30, 2021 (as of 12NN submission), the actual daily positive rate is more than 20 percent. In short, 1 in every 5 individuals tested will likely test positive.

The hospital capacity for ICU is almost at 80 percent utilization at NCR and close to 70 percent utilization of isolation facilities. Wards and ventilators availability has dwindled down with more than 60 percent of these now occupied.

In terms of positivity rate, note the graph of the Health Agency below, that compares the positivity in tests on April 3, 2020 when we had only a handful of testing centers and a few thousand tests done daily compared to March 29, 2021 where we no have over 200 laboratories and do an average of 50,000 tests daily. In the same graph, one can see that even during the first surge, we did not reach positivity rates of this proportion. This means that this second surge is an outbreak that will be challenging to control. And will definitely take a toll not only on life and the healthcare system but on the economy as well.

Today saw slightly lower numbers in the National Capital Region with less than 50 percent new cases (2,938). CALABARZON was in second with 1,108 (18 percent), Central Luzon with 548 (9 percent) and Cagayan Valley with 421 (7 percent). Four other provinces reported triple digits. They were: Central Visayas, CAR, Ilocos Region, and Western Visayas. There are 37 cases with no location on a regional level.

The National Capital Region has Quezon City remaining in the lead with 753 new cases. Manila came in second with 400 new cases. Caloocan City and Mandaluyong having less than 300 but more than 200 cases. Makati, Malabon, Las Piñas, Navotas, Parañaque, and Taguig had more than 100 but less than 200 cases. In spite of the lower cases, 14 of 17 LGUs in NCR were still in the top twenty cities with most cases for the day.

On a provincial level, Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal continued to dominate the cases for the day.

9,296 for a Tuesday is bad…the data drop: 03.30.2021

We regularly see a larger dip of around 20-25 percent in new cases on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Today, the Health Agency reports 9,296 new cases and 20.4 percent positivity rate is not good news. Our active cases are close to 125,000 (168 percent) and the Philippines is headed towards the 750,000 mark tomorrow. The Philippines ranked 8th yesterday, March 29, 2021 in the world.

The healthcare capacity is already spilling at the brim in the National Capital Region with 76 percent of ICU beds occupied and 68 percent of isolation beds filled.

With the current numbers, the weeklong ECQ will not be enough to bring our numbers down.

Today’s data drop showed NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon continuing the massive haul for the day, with NCR recording more than 53 percent of the total (4,950) of the new cases. CALABARZON had 1,460 (15.7 percent) and Central Luzon 803 (8.7 percent). Cagayan Valley had 634 (7 percent) new cases. These 4 regions alone contribute to more than 84 percent of the total cases.

Seven other regions reported triple digits. They were: CAR, Ilocos Region, Central and Western Visayas, Davao Region and MIMAROPA. There were 71 cases with no known location on a regional level.

In the NCR, Quezon City continued the lead with 918 cases, followed by Manila with 731 and Taguig with 547. Caloocan, Mandaluyong, and Las Piñas had more than 300 but less than 400 cases. Those with less than 300 but more than 200 cases were Makati, Parañaque, Pasay and Pasig. The cities of San Juan, Muntinlupa, and Navotas had more than 120 but less than 200 cases. Eight cases had no known location.

Fifteen of the 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top twenty cities for today.

On a provincial level, the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, and Cavite led the haul. All provinces in the top ten reported triple digit cases.

Based on OCTA data for the different LGUs in Mega Manila, this is where each city stands with respect to the attack rate and percentage rise in cases. The highest attack rate is Pateros at 68.08 per 100,000 with a 221 percent jump in cases for March 23 – 29, 2021. Pasay City is the only city that has seen a decline in cases but nevertheless has an attack rate of 55.69 per 100,000.

Breaking the ceiling…the data drop: 03.29.2021

Today marked a new high in the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as we break the 10,000 mark for new cases in a single day. The Health Agency reports 10,016 new COVID-19 cases and a positivity rate of 18 percent. The Philippines broke into the top ten countries with highest cases in the world yesterday March 28, 2021, as the saga of the second season of this pandemic in the country bring us into another episode of Enhanced Community Quarantine today.

In order to make the reader understand the numbers in the infographics of the Department of Health, the positivity rate is the number of positives for March 29 based on reports submitted as of March 28, 2021 at 12NN. In short, as of March 28, 2021, 12NN, only 28,492 had been tested. And 5,128 of the 28,492 tested, tested positive. However, there are laboratories that will continue to submit data for those who got tested and tested positive up to the time they release the data at 4PM on the day of announcement. That is why tomorrow, we expect to have fewer cases than today because the data on a Tuesday are for tests done on a Sunday.

There are over 115,000 active cases and our total cases are now at 731,894.

The hospital care capacities are now at a highly critical level in Mega Manila as ICU bed occupancy reach a high of 76 percent and isolation beds are at 70 percent.

Undoubtedly the daily drop continued to reveal that the NCR + bubble contributed to 8,483 new cases or 85 percent of the total cases in the country. NCR accounted for 54.3 percent, CALABARZON 21 percent and Central Luzon 9.4 percent.

Four other regions recorded triple digits – Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Western Visayas and CAR.

In the National Capital Region alone, Quezon City continued to report quadruple digits with 1,019 new cases, followed by the City of Manila with 765. Marikina had 457 and Taguig 446 cases. Mandaluyong, Makati, Caloocan had more than 300 but less than 400 cases. Pasig, Pasay, Parañaque, and Las Piñas had more than 200 but less than 300 cases. Valenzuela, Navotas, and Malabon had more than 100 but less than 200 cases.

There were 74 cases with unknown localities in Mega Manila. Fourteen of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top twenty cities with most cases. The top 12 cities with most cases were all from NCR.

On a provincial level, Cavite led with 756 new cases followed by Laguna with 535, and Rizal with 525. Bulacan had 502 cases today.

Palm Sunday’s data drop 0.3.28.21

The Health Agency reports 9,475 new cases on Palm Sunday. While a teeny bit lower than the previous day, there is a large increase in the positivity rate now at 19.8 percent or 1 in every 5 patients who are tested will test positive. Although there were 22,000 recoveries in the recovery haul during the weekend, the total number of active cases still exceeded 100,000 (105,568 or 14.6 percent).

For the week of March 21-27, 2021 alone, the Philippines recorded 56,406 new cases.

As the NCR + bubble enters into ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) beginning tomorrow, let us hope that this will be enough to stem the unprecedented second surge we are experiencing. Because if this trend continues, we are on track for 1,000,000 total cases in the next four weeks or at worse, earlier.

Based on the data of the Department of Health COVID-19 tracker, notice in the screen capture provided below how the week of March 4-10, 11-17 and 18-24 behaved. The number of new cases for the week March 18-24 is almost 100 percent that seen on the week of March 4-10.

The reproduction rate for the country is around 1.6 with a wide 95 percent confidence interval (1.3 – 1.9). The wide interval is due to that fact that three regions – NCR, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon account for more than 80 percent of the daily new cases in the country.

Todays numbers continue to show NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon dominating the haul. These 3 regions contribute to more than 81 percent of the total for the day. Other regions with triple digits were Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, CAR, Western Visayas and Ilocos Region. There were 58 cases with no identified location on a regional level.

With 54 percent of the haul from the NCR, Quezon City finally breaks the 1,000 mark with 1,093 cases or 21.3 percent of the cases in Mega Manila. Manila has 816 or 16 percent of the total. This is followed by Pasig and Makati that have numbers greater than 400. Taguig, Caloocan, Parañaque have more than 300 but less than 400 cases. Mandaluyong and Pasay had more than 200 but less than 300. Las Piñas, Valenzuela, Navotas and Muntinlupa had more than 100 but less than 200 cases. There were 11 cases from unknown LGUs in NCR. Fourteen of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities with most cases for the day.

On a provincial level, Bulacan led the haul with 617 cases followed by Cavite with 574 and Rizal with 483. All provinces in the top ten report triple digits today.

9595 new cases on 03.27.21

The Health Agency at 4PM announces 9,595 new cases of COVID-19 today.

There are now close to 120,000 active cases (16.6 percent) and a positivity rate of 16.2 percent. While the positivity rate is slightly lower than the past day, it is still considerably high as the second surge continues its rampage in the country. Majority of the cases are concentrated in three regions – NCR (Mega Manila), CALABARZON, and Central Luzon.

Yesterday, the Philippines was 12th in rank in the world with the most cases, outpacing Russia, Iran and many other nations including Indonesia, which has managed to bring its new cases to less than 5,000.

Beds in intensive care units have surpassed the critical capacity and isolation beds are near the tipping edge as well.

As the IATF declares Enhanced Community Quarantine from March 29 – April 4, 2021 in order to stem the rising cases in the country, here’s the granular data based on region, in the NCR, provinces and top 20 cities with most cases for today, March 27, 2021.

NCR continued the haul with 5204 cases (54.2 percent), followed by CALABARZON with 1,579 (16.5 percent), Central Luzon with 967 (10.1 percent). Again, these three regions continue to account for more than 80 percent (7790) of the cases in the country today, considering that 11 laboratories failed to submit data. Six other regions aside fro the top three mentioned reported triple digits today.

There were 51 new cases that had no identified location on a regional level. The number of ROFs that are positive are 30.

In the National Capital Region, the reproduction number is a tad lower at 1.88, but is declining too slow. Quezon City has almost 1000 new cases. This is followed by Manila with 824 and Marikina with 503. These three cities in NCR alone contribute to 44 percent of the total cases in Mega Manila. Eleven other LGUs, aside from the three aforementioned, report triple digits (more than 100 but less than 400). Fourteen of the 17 LGUs are in the top twenty cities with most cases today.

Inevitably, many provinces in the ‘bubble’ together with the NCR will be under ECQ as well. This, as the province of Rizal now takes the lead with 535 cases. This is followed by Bulacan, Cavite and Cebu. All provinces in the top ten reported triple digits each.

Almost 10,000 and rising…the data drop: 03.26.21

As projected, this week was expected to end the last Friday of the month with a bang.

The Health Agency reports 9,838 new cases (with a few labs still unable to submit reports), the country now has 702,856 total cases and 109,018 of them (15.5 percent) active. With this high numbers, we most likely will be back among the top ten countries with most cases for the day. While there are only 54 deaths reported, these deaths are not real-time and will most likely surge in numbers in the next four weeks.

The icing on the cake is the positivity rate which is at an astounding 17.3 percent! This implies that of every 10,000 individuals tests, 1,730 will test positive. While the ICU occupancy remains above the 70 percent critical level, the isolation bed occupancy has significantly risen to an all time high in the National Capital Region at 68 percent!

The National Capital Region continued the rampage leading the number of the total cases in the country with 5,355 new cases or more than 54 percent. CALABARZON came in second with 18 percent and Central Luzon with 9.6 percent. Again, these three regions alone account for 82 percent of the total cases for the day. Other regions with triple digit cases were: Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, CAR, and Western Visayas. As in the past year when there was a surge, there was also an increase in cases reported from unknown regions, provinces or cities/municipalities. There were 76 cases from unknown regions today.

Quezon City continues to lead in the NCR with 984 (18.4 percent). However, all LGUs see an increase in cases (except for Pateros). Manila had 813 cases. Makati, Taguig, and Pasig reports more than 400 but less than 500 cases. The city of Caloocan reports 389 new cases. Parañaque, Marikina, Navotas, Pasay City and Mandaluyong all reported more than 200 but less than 300 cases. Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, and Malabon had more than 100 cases but less than 200. The remaining cities had two digits but were reporting still higher than usual numbers based on the density of their LGU. Fifteen of the 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities with most cases for the day.

On a provincial level, the province of Cavite had the most cases with 681, followed by Bulacan (594), Rizal (478), Laguna (335), Cebu (334), and Isabela (308).

The holiday is over and we’re back to the real count with 8,773 new cases for 03.25.21

The Tuesday and Wednesday trough is over.

The Health Agency reports 8,773 new cases and 56 new deaths today. With a new high in both new cases and positivity rate of 16.1 percent, we are projected to head towards the 9,000-10,000 level this weekend. The large haul today brings the total active cases in the Philippines, a few cases short of 100,000 (14.4 percent).

Apart from the startling high numbers is the hospital occupancy rate in the National Capital Region where the ICU beds are now more than the critical levels, rising an additional 3 percent from yesterday’s 71 percent. The isolation beds are also up at 62 percent (from 59 percent yesterday) with the rising cases in the capital.

The National Capital Region reported close to 5000 cases today as the pandemic rages on (56 percent of the total). CALABARZON owned 16.7 percent of the total and Central Luzon 9.3 percent. These three regions alone accounted for 82 percent of todays cases or 7,181 new cases. Other regions with triple digits were: Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Western Visayas and CAR. There were 68 cases with no known location on a regional level.

In the NCR, Quezon City continued to have the most total number of cases with 856 new cases (17.5 percent). Manila was in second with 818, Caloocan with 460, and Pasig with 354. The cities of Pasay, Makati, Parañaque, Malabon, Mandaluyong and Taguig had more than 200 but less than 300 cases. The cities of Marikina, Valenzuela, San Juan, Muntinlupa and Las Piñas had more than 100 but less than 200 cases. Navotas and Pateros that usually see single digits had 65 and 76 cases, respectively.

Fifteen of 17 LGUs in the NCR were in the top twenty cities with most cases.

On a provincial level, Cavite has overtaken Bulacan for the top spot. Nine of the top ten provinces were triple digits. Today, only 3 of the 81 provinces in the country had no reported case. They were: Marinduque, Dinagat Islands, and Davao Occidental. Batanes had one new Covid19 case.


Update from the OCTA Research Monitoring for March 25, 2021 shows a slight decline in Rt for the NCR at 1.91. But this is not a cause for celebration, and it is unknown if this can be attributable to the recent stricter regulations of the IATF on mobility outside of the so-called “NCR plus bubble”. Note that the positivity rate in the National Capital Region was 18 percent (higher than the national average of 15 percent) over the past week.

Philippine COVID-19 Update, OCTA Research Monitoring, March 25, 2021

In the same report for today, the following are the top barangays in the country with the most number of COVID-19 cases covering the period March 18-24. Only 4 barangays are located in Rizal. The rest in the top 50 are from the National Capital Region with Fort Bonifacio in the lead. Note here that several of the Barangay are from middle to higher income class areas.

The current most common sources of infection based on history of exposure are: travel outside of the NCR, in-dining, festivities (weddings, baptisms, birthdays, parties and celebrations of more than 10 pax), visitors outside of the family bubble and gyms.

The mark of the devil 6666…The data drop: 03.24.21

As in previous trends, Wednesday will be slightly higher than Tuesdays numbers.

With 6,666 new cases today, 47 new deaths and 1,072 recent recoveries announced by the Health Agency, we move closer to the 700,000 mark most likely before the weekend.

Active cases are now more than 91,000 (13.4 percent) and climbing with a daily positivity of 15.3 percent.

Notice the comparison of healthcare capacity (ICU beds, Isolation beds, ward beds and ventilators) between the country and the National Capital Region. ICU beds for COVID have now breached 70 percent capacity (critical level) in Mega Manila.

The NCR continued the daily haul with 3,758 new cases or 56.4 percent of todays total. CALABARZON is in second with 16.3 percent (1,085), and Central Luzon in third with 11 percent (712). These three regions together accounted for almost 85 percent of the total cases in the country in the midweek data drop.

The larger unknown of 47 cases on a regional level is disturbing in data collection. There were 22 new cases from ROFs.

In the National Capital Region, 13 of the 17 LGUs continue to report triple digit cases, with Quezon City accounting for 23 percent of the cases in Mega Manila. Manila followed with 570. Parañaque, Makati, Taguig and Caloocan had more than 200 cases, while Pasig, Marikina, Pasay, Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, Navotas and Valenzuela saw more than 100 but less than 200 cases.

Fourteen of 17 LGUs from NCR ranked 1st to 14th in todays haul. Muntinlupa was 14th among the 20 top cities with most cases for the day.

On a provincial level, Bulacan continued the haul with 439 new cases, followed by Cavite and Rizal. Cebu moved down to fourth rank with 208 new cases only.

The OCTA Research Group provides an update on the situation in the Philippines in general, and the National Capital Region in particular, with close to 55-60 percent of the cases coming from Mega Manila.

As of March 23, 2021, the reproduction number in NCR was 1.99 and the number of new cases averaged more than 3,600 daily in Mega Manila. An increase of 62 percent compared to the past week. The daily attack rate in NCR has jumped to 25.9 per 100,000 population which is much higher than the attack rate of 12.8 per 100,000 on July 28 – August 3, 2020, prior to shifting the capital from GCQ back to MECQ.

Philippine COVID-19 Update, OCTA Research, March 24, 2021

The ten top regions/provinces are provided in the graph below, with their corresponding percentage change per region. Notice that the province of Cebu is the only one that saw a significant decrease, Benguet a slight uptick, and the remaining provinces in the top 10 soared significantly.

Based on the projections for the National Capital Region (plug GCQ Bubble), the report indicates that

…several provinces in CALBARZON and Central Luzon are also having an increase in cases, including Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas and Pampanga. These are the provinces included in the bubble, but we need to monitor closely the trends in Batangas and Pampanga, considering these provinces are outside the bubble but the week to week average increase in new cases was actually higher in these provinces compared to the bubble.

The figure below shows simulations based on two possible scenarios in the NCR. Using a current reproduction number of Rt=2.0, a scenario based on a decreasing trend (blue line) illustrates the effect on the number of cases IF the reproduction number decreases to Rt = 1.5 after two weeks. There will be a downward (trend) in four weeks, and the number of new cases per day will reach 6,200.

In a more optimistic scenario (green bars), the reproduction number will decrease to less than 1.0 after two weeks and the trend will reverse. The number of new cases under the more optimistic scenario could reach 5,000 per day in the NCR. While the optimistic scenario is NOT IMPOSSIBLE, it is mathematically unlikely, considering the nation’s pandemic history.

Philippine COVID-19 update, OCTA Monitoring Report, March 24, 2021

Tuesdays trend…The data drop: 03.23.21

The data that come in on Tuesdays (and Wednesdays) are usually the lowest numbers for the week. Hence, it was expected that the Health Agency announced fewer cases today compared to the past days. I will caution everyone to be careful in interpreting data on Tuesdays because they usually represent tests done 2-3 days back (most likely Sunday) where some testing facilities may not be operational OR that people do not see a physician on the weekend to get checked when they have signs and symptoms and usually wait it out until the first day of the week – Monday.

With a national positivity rate of more than 15 percent today, this implies that for every 10,000 individuals tested, 1,500 will likely test positive. But certain areas have higher positivity rates. The NCR for example has a positivity rate of 20 percent. If the NCR runs 25,000 tests daily, then that would mean 5,000 new cases in this region alone.

The Health Agency announces 5,867 new cases for March 23, 2021. Note the encircled numbers. The number of active cases is up at 86,200 (12.7 percent) and the percent positivity for COVID testing is now 15.4 percent. There were 620 recoveries and 20 deaths reported by the DOH, a far cry from the new cases. Recoveries are just 10 percent of the total cases. As more cases than recoveries incur this week, it will be worrisome to see more than 100,000 active cases before the end of the week.

Today’s granular data showed NCR contributing to a glaring 61 percent (3,579 new cases) of the total cases in the country. CALABARZON accounted for 18 percent of the haul for the day. Other regions with triple digit reports were: Central Luzon, Central Visayas, and Cagayan Valley. Notice that the “unidentified” are back with 51 new cases from no known region.

In the NCR, Quezon City continue to harvest the most number of cases with 731 (20.4 percent) of the total cases in Mega Manila. Manila had 489. Caloocan with 336. Pasay City 294, Taguig 271, Parañaque 252, and Makati 213. Malabon, Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Las Piñas had more than 100 cases. There were 11 cases with unknown LGUs.

Sixteen of 17 LGUs in the National Capital Region were among the top 20 cities with most cases today. The remaining four cities were: 3 from Cavite and 1 from Rizal. The whole NCR + bubble (as the government describes it) has become the epicenter of the nation.

On a provincial level, the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal had more than 300 cases. Batangas, Cebu and Laguna posted more than 150 cases.