‘This not the time to be dilly dallying’, expert says as COVID-19 infections surge in NCR

Published March 7, 2021, 10:52 AM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

This is not the time to be dilly dallying, especially now that there is a surge in the number of new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Metro Manila, a member of an independent research team said Sunday, March 7.


Professor Guido David of OCTA Research Group expressed concern over the spike in new COVID-19 cases in the capital region.

David said the number of daily infections in the country is projected to reach an average of 5,000 to 6,000 cases per day by the end of March.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported more than 3,400 news cases on Saturday, March 5.

“This not the time to be dilly dallying. We must make solid decisions,” David said in an interview over radio DZMM.

“We could be at 4,000 [cases] by next week, and then two weeks we could be at 5,000 [cases] based on the projections we saw, and by the end of March we could be at 6,000 cases,” he explained.

“That would be a lot of cases and our healthcare system would be overwhelmed,” he added.

The research fellow said the reproduction number of Metro Manila jumped to 1.66 from the 1.47 in the previous weeks, adding that the metro’s positivity rate has also doubled.

“So far we have not been able to contain this upsurge here in Metro Manila. Even our positivity rate used to be at 4 percent, now it is at 8 percent,” David said.

“This is really alarming numbers because it is difficult to stop at this level so we really have to be more strict and we have to take some other measure because, what is happening so far is it is spreading to other parts of Metro Manila,” he added.

David explained that among the possible reasons behind the surge of infections in the metropolis were the new COVID-19 variants that are said to be more infectious.

“The presence of the variant is one of the reasons. We are not saying that it is prevalent, but what we are saying is this kind of acceleration or spread has not been seen in the previous variant,” he explained.

“The previous coronavirus does not spread this fast. We are sure of that. So even just by looking at the numbers, even though we don’t have a complete bio-surveillance yet, we can say that there’s something different compared from before,” he added.

The Department of Health has reported the detection of the new variants of COVID-19 such as the South African and UK variants in some parts of the country including Metro Manila.

“We respect and support what the government does … but what we are saying is we have to really think of ways to stop this surge,” David said.

He said that the effects of the response to contain the spread of infections can be felt around two weeks after its imposition.

“That’s why we cannot really wait, we have to do this now. We cannot wait na umabot siya ng 4,000 cases bago tayo magpapanic (We cannot wait for this to reach 4,000 cases before we panic),” David said.

According to him, the quickest way to reverse the uptrend of cases is to revert back to much stricter modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) or even to an enhance community quarantine (ECQ).

“We are advocating for a quick response right now [and] do something about the situation,” he added.