Despite rising numbers, DOH unsure if it’s the surge

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    Vergiere (Photo from DOH)

    FOR the third time in a week, more than 2,000 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases were reported by the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday as the total number of infections in the country rose to 502,736 with 14 more deaths.

    Despite the rising numbers, however, the health department said it still needs additional time to analyze the data and determine whether it is already the feared post-holiday surge.

    “We are looking at this week to see if this is definitely the holiday surge that is happening,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing.

    “Last December, the average number of cases per day was 1,000 to 1,300 cases. By last week, we were at 1,500 plus cases per day,” she added.

    The DOH had said the projected post-holiday surge may become evident sometime in the middle of January.

    “We are expecting this surge because we have seen how people were somehow lax with compliance to the health standards during the holiday activities,” said Vergeire.

    While the DOH needs more time to come up with a declaration, the independent OCTA Research Team sees COVID cases in the country going up to 540,000 by the end of January.

    “By the end of January, we can see an average of 530,000 or 525,000 total number of cases. If the pandemic spreads faster, it may even reach 540,000 cases,” OCTA Research Group fellow Guido David said in a radio interview.

    OCTA said the reproduction number of COVID cases in National Capital Region (NCR) is currently at 1.12.

    “The reproduction number has been holding steady around that value. This means that the trend in new COVID-19 cases in the NCR, though still on an upward trend, has remained the same over the past week,” OCTA said.

    Reproduction number indicates the possible number of people being infected by a sick person at a specific time.

    Of the 2,163 new cases, 134 came from Davao City while Cagayan had 100, Quezon City 99, Leyte 93, and Cavite 75.

    With the 14 additional deaths, the deadly virus has now claimed the lives of 9,909 Filipinos, raising the case fatality rate in the country to 1.97 percent.

    There were two new recoveries, raising the number of survivors to 465,988.

    There were 26,839 active cases – 85.8 percent of them mild cases, 6.1 percent asymptomatic cases, 4.9 percent critical cases, 2.8 percent severe cases, and 0.44 percent moderate cases.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said 48 more overseas Filipinos were infected with the deadly virus, bringing the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 13,591.

    There were six new fatalities, bringing the death toll among Filipinos abroad to 941.

    The DFA also reported 55 new recoveries, bringing the number of survivors to 8,682.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque assured the public that the health care capacity of the country is still in a safe level even after the number of COVID cases in the country surpassed the grim milestone of 500,000.

    Roque said even if the cases in the Philippines surpassed the half-a-million mark, it only ranked 32nd in the list of countries with COVID cases, an improvement from 20th place in October 2020.

    “The Philippines recorded more than half a million number of total cases of COVID-19 but we should not worry because the active cases are actually 24,691 and while we reached 500,000 cases, our position on worldwide is at the 32nd place,” he said,

    “The important thing is we have the capability to attend to those who are sick and affected severely,” he added

    Roque said 58 percent of the intensive care unit beds in the country are still available while 63 percent of the isolation beds and 74 percent of the ward beds are unoccupied. – With Ashzel Hachero and Jocelyn Montemayor