The Philippines may see at least 10,000 to 11,000 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases per day by the end of the month if the current trends remain in the next few days, according to the group that tracks numbers of the pandemic in the country.
Such a number, according to Octa Research group’s senior research fellow Dr. Guido David, may lead hospitals in high-risk regions, such as in Metro Manila to overflow, preventing possible admission of non-Covid patients in need of immediate care.
“This is becoming a real nightmare for us in NCR (National Capital Region or Metro Manila), we are already on track for higher numbers compared to last August. It will be a much more difficult period for us,” David told The Manila Times in a phone interview
Currently, the Philippines has a reproduction number or R0 (pronounced R naught) of 1.75, while in the National Capital Region, the R0 is at 2.03, the highest since May, according to David.
A high reproduction number means that an infected person is going to infect two people in a 14-day period.
David noted that even during the surge in July or August, the reproduction number went only to 1.8.
He said most cities in NCR have moved to the “high risk” classification level, and it won’t be impossible for all cities in the nation’s capital to move into high risk anytime soon.
“A lot of them have moved into the high-risk classification. It is very possible,” he said.
David urged the government to continue strengthening its measures to control the spread of the disease, such as localized lockdowns and curfews, but admits that “time is running out” to see if these measures would work to contain a surge.
He said that while it remained to be seen if localized lockdowns would be effective in controlling the number of cases, there is a glimmer of hope in the enforcement of granular lockdowns in areas with high cases, such as in Pasay City, where the R0 rate decreased from a high of 2.2 to 1.8.
While a lockdown in the region remained the best option to control the spike in the number of cases, David pointed out that the economic situation in the country makes it difficult to necessitate pushing such restrictions.
Instead, David urged individuals to do a two-week “personal ECQ” or enhanced community quarantine to protect themselves from the threat of the virus.
“Work from home muna, refrain from eating outdoors muna, pa-deliver muna kayo (You should work from home, refrain from eating outdoors, go for deliveries), anything that we can do to reduce mobility, especially in areas na may [that are] high risk,” he said.
David added that the vaccination program will also take a few months to pick up as problems regarding the global supply of vaccines remain.
“We cannot blame anything, but we have to work around this problem. Hindi tayo pwedeng nakaasa lang (We should not just be dependent on the government). The best solution is to try to help,” he said.
On Tuesday, the country logged 4,437 new cases of Covid-19, for a total caseload of 631,320 total cases.
More than 97 percent of the 57,736 active cases remain mild, moderate or asymptomatic.
New recoveries are at 560,736, with the addition of 166 new recoveries, while 11 fatalities were added, for a total of 12,848 deaths.