Duque clarifies: PH now in ‘first major wave’ of sustained transmission

By Ben Rosario 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday clarified that there is currently a “first major wave of sustained transmission” of the deadly 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID 19).

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN) Department of Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III

Duque told members of the House Committee on Health that his declaration before the Senate that the country is currently experiencing a “second wave” of COVID 19 transmission was a mere statement of an “epidemiologic fact.”

The DOH official’s Senate statement triggered public confusion although the department’s chief epidemiologist Dr. John Wong supported the “second wave claim.”

At yesterday’s virtual meeting of the House Committee on Health, Wong also explained that what Duque really referred to was that the first wave of sustained community transmission started last March.

According to Duque there was indeed a first wave that consisted of three “imported cases” that were confirmed in January.

Under epidemiologic terms, a wave consists of a rise in cases that is followed by a decrease.

He told lawmakers headed by Bataan Rep. Joey Garcia, health panel vice chairman, that after the January cases there were no reports of Covid 19 infection in February.

After February, a “bigger wave which is now” followed and this has been considered the initial major wave of sustained community trnasmission.

“Either way, it can be construed that what we have today is the first major wave of sustained transmission,”said Duque.

During the same hearing, Wong explained to the House panel that the Philippines’reached the crest of COVID 19 cases in March and that the downward slope came the following month and until now.

Wong aired the optimism that the current situation may be maintained or a delay in a new wave will take place if the public will observe recommended measures that would help mitigate the COVID 19 infection.