The Philippines is projected to have 8,000 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) daily by the end of the March, according to the latest projections of an independent research group.
In an interview over TeleRadyo, OCTA Research fellow Professor Guido David said the country is estimated to even reach 18,000 to 20,000 new cases daily by mid-April.
The research fellow also projected that Metro Manila would have 5,000 to 6,000 new infections daily by month-end.
Moreover, David noted that daily COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) might balloon to 14,000 cases per day by mid-April if the current reproduction rate, or the average number of persons who may be infected by one COVID-19 positive individual, will continue.
The projections, he said, were based on a reproduction number of 1.9.
The country reported on March 13 its highest number of new COVID-19 cases this year at 5,000, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 616,611 cases.
‘That is science’
David said they were not trying scare the public with their projections, noting that the data they are presenting are based on science.
“Hindi tayo nananakot. Sinasabi lang natin, ‘yan ang science. Wala namang fear-mongering sa science (We are not sowing fear. We are just saying, that is science. There is no fear-mongering in science),” he said.
“Yung sinasabi lang natin na ito ‘yung maaaring mangyari. At ‘yung projections namin, nagkatotoo na. In fact, mas mabilis na siya ngayon kaysa doon sa original naming projection. Kaya, nag-readjust tayo ng projection (We are just saying that this is what can happen. And our projections have come true. In fact, it is now faster than in our original projection. So, we re-adjusted our projection),” he added.
David explained that their group are coming up with such projections to anticipate the things that could happen in the future.
“Kaya kami gumagawa ng projections para ma ainticipate nati kung ano yung pwedeng mangyari. Hindi naman nating sinasabing kailangan agad mag ECQ necessarily although option ‘yan ng gobyerno (So we make projections so we can anticipate what can happen. We are not saying that we need to impose ECQ immediately, although that is an option of the government),” he said.
“Ang sinasabi lang natin kailangan mapabagal na natin ito kasi kapag umabot na tayo ng kahit 6,000, mao-overwhelm na yung hospitals natin (All we are saying is that we need to slow it down because when we reach at least 6,000, our hospitals will be overwhelmed),” he added.
David said the intensive care unit occupancy in Metro Manila currently stood at 65 percent, noting that it will reach its critical level once it hits its 70-percent mark, as per the Health department.
Strict community quarantine works
The OCTA Research fellow said the imposition of a strict community quarantine “will work” to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Definitely na options iyan ng national government and pati ng local government. Siyempre may mga concerns ‘yan, madi-disrupt yung economy natin kaya may hesitations (That is definitely an option of the national government as well as the local government. Of course there are concerns, our economy will be disrupted so there are hesitations),” he said.
David hopes that protocols implemented such as localized lockdown and the reimposition of a curfew will slow down the spread of the virus.
“Kung hindi, mauubusan na tayo ng option and definitely on the table ‘yung stricter quarantine kung wala talagang gumagana doon sa mga sinubukan natin (If not, we will run out of options and the stricter quarantine is definitely on the table if nothing really works),” he said.
“Kumbaga ‘last line of defense’ natin ‘yung strict quarantine kasi napatunayan natin na it will work. ‘Yung strict quarantine it will work, mapapabagal niya (Our ‘last line of defense’ is the strict quarantine because we have proven that it will work. The strict quarantine will work, it will slow down the trend),” he added.