COVID reproduction rate in NCR up to 1.6

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    FIGURES released by the Department of Health yesterday showed an alarming increase in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, proving that its warning of a big surge in new cases due to the increased mobility of the public during the holidays is spot on.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH reported 2,052 new cases, the highest so far since January 5, and raised the total number of infections in the country to 489,736.

    The OCTA Research team of the University of the Philippines said the reproduction rate of the deadly virus in Metro Manila is currently at 1.06, the first time it has gone up to more than 1 since December 21.

    “The reproduction number in National Capital Region has increased to 1.06, greater than 1, indicating that new COVID-19 cases is now on an upward trend,” said OCTA. “The last time the reproduction number was above 1 was on December 21, when it was at 1.02.”

    Reproduction number indicates the possible number of people being infected by a sick person at a specific time. The World Health Organization has long stated that the goal is for the reproduction of COVID-19 to less than 1.

    OCTA said the reproduction rate has been steady at under 1 during the holidays due to the limited testing of laboratories.

    “It has remained below 1 throughout the holiday season as testing was reduced by more than 40 percent,” OCTA said.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the latest data from the DOH proved “that we had a holiday surge” but added “the increase is manageable because the important thing is we are ready to treat the serious cases.”

    Roque, in a briefing, said the DOH recorded more than 1,900 new COVID cases last January 10. The DOH recorded a total of 20,087 active cases, 458,198 recovered and 9,405 deaths on Sunday.

    He said 61 percent of the intensive care units (ICU) beds or more than 2,100 for serious and severe cases of COVID-19 are still available, along with 63 percent or 15,900 isolation beds, 74 percent or 7,700 ward beds for mild patients still available.

    Last Monday, the DOH reported 1,906 new cases, a day after reporting 1,952 cases last Saturday. Since January 5, the number of new cases has steadily climbed from 937 to 1,047 (January 6); to 1,353 (January 7); and to 1,776 (January 8).

    If it’s any consolation, there were 6,958 cases last August 10, 2020, the highest one-day rate since the pandemic swept into the country.

    The DOH said Davao City had 140 new cases, followed by Quezon City (93), Cavite (87), Laguna (83), and Manila (67) yesterday.

    Eleven more patients lost the fight against the deadly virus, raising the number of fatalities to 9,416. The case fatality rate in the country now stands at 1.92 percent, according to the DOH.

    There were 10 more recoveries, meaning the number of survivors is up to 458,206. The DOH said this means that 93.6 percent of COVID patients had recovered.

    Less the deaths and recoveries, the DOH said there are 22,114 active cases, accounting for 4.5 percent of cases in the country.

    Of the active cases, 84.3 percent are mild cases, 6.2 percent are critical cases, 5.6 percent are asymptomatic cases, 3.4 percent are severe cases, and 0.58 percent are moderate cases.

    Four more overseas Filipinos have been infected with the deadly virus while one more died, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    The number of Filipinos abroad who have been infected now stands at 13,022 with 935 deaths.

    The DFA also reported one new recovery, bringing the number of survivors to 8,461, with 3, 626 still undergoing treatment.

    Meanwhile, employees of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) who participated in the traslacion for the Black Nazarene in Manila were told to undergo home quarantine for a week.

    In a virtual press briefing, DOLE spokesman Rolly Francia said the order came from Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

    “Officials and employees of DOLE that participated in the Traslacion are the subject of the latest memorandum of the Secretary,” said Francia. “They were told to undergo isolation or home quarantine for one week.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a key member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, went on leave yesterday until the end of the month on the advise of his doctors.

    DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said DILG Undersecretary Bernardo Florece has been designated as the officer in charge of the agency. – With Victor Reyes, Jocelyn Montemayor, and Ashzel Hachero