PH has slowed down coronavirus spread – UP expert
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has slowed down the spread of the new coronavirus, but it is not anything to be excited about, a University of the Philippines (UP) researcher said on Sunday.
In a television interview, Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research team said the local reproduction number of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, had gone down to less than 1 percent.
UP OCTA Research is an independent interdisciplinary research group composed of UP faculty members and graduates.
“It’s about 0.94 when we last checked it using the latest data from around 0.99 last week,” David said. “So it is decreasing, and that is very good news. It means we are sustaining the flattening of the curve.”
Earlier, David said the infection curve could be flattened by the end of August or September.
Positivity rate down
Another indication of the slowdown is the decrease in the positivity rate, he said. “We were averaging more than 4,000 cases in mid to late August, and now we’re averaging about 3,000.”
David, however, advised the public not to be “overly excited” about the development.
“It doesn’t mean our problem is solved. It doesn’t mean the pandemic is over,” he said. “The virus is still here. We’re still getting around 3,000 cases per day, and we have to sustain our momentum. So we have to keep doing the right things and not falter.”
And it doesn’t mean Metropolitan Manila, the epicenter of the local coronavirus outbreak, should now shift to the easiest quarantine level.
“If we ever relax to [modified general community quarantine], we should evaluate this carefully. I’m not saying we can’t, but we have to evaluate it carefully,” David said.
On the recommendation of the Metro mayors, President Duterte has placed the metropolis under general community quarantine up to Sept. 30.
The mayors have rejected recommendations for a hard lockdown to allow a wider reopening of the economy, preferring targeted lockdowns to deal with outbreaks.
On Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,839 additional infections, bringing the national case count to 237,365.
For the sixth time since July 13, the DOH, following its new strategy of counting mild and asymptomatic patients as recovered after completing 14 days of isolation, reported mass recoveries—23,074, pushing the total number of COVID-19 survivors to 184,687.
The DOH, however, also reported 85 more deaths, raising the death toll to 3,875, which, considered with the recoveries, left the country with 48,803 active cases, 88.6 percent of which were mild, 8.0 percent asymptomatic, 1.4 percent severe, and 2.0 percent critical.
Of the new cases, submitted by 96 of 115 accredited laboratories, 1,170 were from Metro Manila, 195 from Negros Occidental, 190 from Laguna, 182 from Cavite, and 154 from Rizal. —WITH A REPORT FROM TINA G. SANTOS INQ
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