Expect some uptick in COVID cases as economy reopens

Published November 28, 2020, 11:11 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and in the rest of the world and it is surging in a new wave of infections and deaths in the United States and Europe.

We are fortunate the virus has not been as virulent in our country as it has been in the US, India, Brazil, France, Russia, and Spain which are now the top six nations where COVID-19 has claimed the most victims.

The next 10 nations with the most cases are the United kingdom, Italy, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico. Germany, Peru, Poland, Iran, and South Africa. And the next ten are Ukraine, Belgium, Chile, Iraq, Indonesia, Netherlands, Czechia, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Romania.

The Philippines is No. 26 in the list of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) of the Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

The OCTA Research Group of the University of the Philippines said in its latest monitoring report last Thursday that there has been an “uptick” in cases these last few weeks in three regions of the country – Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

The new cases in Metro Manila were noted particularly in Quezon City, Marikina, Makati, Mandaluyong, Parañaque, Pasay, Navotas, and San Juan. In Central Luzon, they were noted in particular in the provinces of Tarlac, Bulacan, and Bataan. And in Calabarzon, they were in Laguna, Quezon, and Batangas.

Dr. Nicanor Austriaco of the OCTA Reseach Center said that the new cases should not be a cause of concern. The basic rule in pandemic management, he said, is that as you open the economy and increase mobility, there is bound to be an uptick in cases. The important thing is that the government has increased its capacity to fight COVID-19 and should be able to act quickly on the problem, he said.

The OCTA report said the cities of Baguio and Davao, had earlier been identified as areas of serious concern, but their situation has significantly improved due to the aggresive response of the local governments.

“We urge concerned local govenment units to intensify their efforts at testing, tracing, and isolation to reverse the increase in transmissions in their communities,” OCTA said. The overall situation is indeed improving in the Philippines and should continue to improve with local governments, along with the people, working closely together in an intensified common effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.