‘EVOLVING SCIENCE’

DOH cites downward trend in COVID-19 mortality rate

By: Tina G. Santos - Philippine Daily Inquirer June 15,2020 - 06:48 AM

FULL DAY AHEAD A man undergoes a swab test at Santa Ana Hospital in Manila, where other health workers in protective wear attend to patients who may have been infected with the coronavirus (right photo). | RICHARD A. REYES AND EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported a downward trend in the mortality rate of COVID-19 in the country as of mid-June despite the increase in validated death cases reported in the last two days.

“The country’s COVID-19 case fatality rate dropped from 5.52 percent on May 31 to 4.24 percent as of June 13. This is a decrease in the current case fatality rate in the world,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online press briefing.

Epidemiologist John Wong, a member of the government task force on COVID-19 subtechnical working group on data and analytics, made the same claim, saying the decrease in case fatality showed that “fewer cases are dying, which means more lives are being saved.”

“With improved reporting efficiency … cases appear to be rising. However, adjusted for late reports, deaths have actually been decreasing,” Wong noted.

“Deaths have increased over the past two days although the median is still 10 per day. However, the recent increase has been due to late reports coming in to the DOH. The good news is that the Philippines case fatality rate (CFR) is 4.24, which is below the global CFR of over 5,” he added.

Delay

Vergeire said the rise in reported deaths from COVID-19 this month was due to a delay in the submission of validated mortality cases from the local governments to the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau.

The situation, she said, has not worsened despite the reports of 16 deaths on Friday and 22 more on Saturday.

Cause of concern

Vergeire apologized if the data became a cause of concern, explaining that some of the figures were actually from previous months.

According to Vergeire, only four of the 22 patients who were reported to have died on Saturday actually died in June, one each on June 3, 4, 6 and 9.

“The remaining 18 deaths occurred in the previous months but were only recently submitted to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau,” she said.

A first in many ways

“The pandemic we are experiencing right now is a first in many ways. And, as such, the reporting and validating of cases is an evolving science, which is why we encounter several challenges along the way,” she said.

On Sunday, the DOH reported 539 more infections, bringing the national caseload to 25,930.

Of the additional cases, 366 were “fresh,” or test results released during the last three days, while 173 were “late,” or cases detected at least four days ago but validated only recently by the Epidemiology Bureau.

Case update

Of the 366 fresh cases, 153 were in Metro Manila, 110 in Central Visayas, and the rest reported in other parts of the country.

Of the 173 late cases, 142 were in Metro Manila, five in Central Visayas, and the rest spread across the country.

The DOH also reported that 248 more patients had recovered, bringing the total of number of COVID-19 survivors to 5,954.

But the death toll rose to 1,088, with the deaths of 14 more patients.

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TAGS: COVID-19, DOH, downward trend, fewer cases are dying, mortality rate

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