The reimposition of longer curfew period in Metro Manila in the next two weeks may help bring about a “slight” reduction in the projected daily number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country by end of March, the OCTA Research Team said on Monday, March 15.
“May konting inaasahan tayo na pagbaba sa reproduction number kapag napatupad na ngayon ‘yung curfew, limited hours. (We expect a slight decrease in the reproduction number when the curfew, limited hours, is enforced),” OCTA research chief Guido David said in a Teleradyo interview.
“Ang inaasahan natin mapabagal niya ng konti ‘yung pagkalat. Sana umabot na lang sa 6,000 to 7,000 (daily cases nationwide) sa katapusan. Ibig sabihin nun bumagal siya nang konti, hindi niya aabutin yung 8,000. (What we hope is that it will slow down the infection spread a little. Hopefully it will only reach 6,000 to 7,000 daily cases nationwide by the end of March. That means, the reproduction rate has slowed down a bit, and we would not reach the original projection of 8,000 cases),” David added.
OCTA over the weekend projected that the country may have 8,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by end-March or 18,000 to 20,000 daily cases by mid-April if the current reproduction number of 1.9 is maintained.
“Lahat ng paraan na pwede para mabawasan ang tao sa labas. ‘Yung nagtitipon-tipon dapat ‘wag muna ‘yang mga ‘yan, mga mass gathering. (All possible ways to reduce the number of persons outside must be done. We should not have those mass gatherings at the moment),” David said.
“Makikita natin ang epekto nito this week kasi this week magsisimula ‘yan. Inaasahan naman naming bababa ‘yan, may effect naman talaga ‘yan sa reproduction number talaga kahit hindi ganun kalaki and epekto niya. (We will see the effect this week because the longer curfew period will be enforced this week. We expect that the reproduction number will go down, although it will not be that huge),” he added.
David also reiterated that the decision to implement a lockdown should be made by the national government.
“Paniwala natin kapag lalong lumobo ‘yung bilang ng kaso tulad niyan kunyari patuloy tayo sa 8,000 cases per day, sobrang dami na niyan hindi na kakayanin ng healthcare system ‘yun. (We believe that when the number of cases increases further, for example, if we will have 8,000 cases per day, the healthcare system will not be able to handle that number anymore),” he said.
“‘Yung pamahalaan mismo sila ‘yung mag-iimplement ng lockdown kapag ganyan na karami kasi manghihingi na ulit ng timeout ‘yung mga healthcare workers kapag di na nila kakayanin. ‘Yun ang paniwala natin. (The government itself will have to implement the lockdown. If not, the healthcare workers will ask for timeout again when they can no longer manage it. That is our belief),” he added.
David explained that a significant improvement in COVID-19 trend in Metro Manila in the next two weeks may not happen immediately.
“Medyo complicated dito (Metro Manila) dahil tumataas na rin sa ibang bahagi ng Calabarzon. We don’t think na magiging pababa na ‘yung trend natin pagdating ng April. (It’s a bit complicated in Metro Manila because the number of cases is also rising in other parts of Calabarzon. We don’t think that our trend will be down by April),” he pointed out.
“Isa sana ‘yun sa mga requirements pa para magluwag kapag pababa na ‘yung bilang ng kaso. Mahirap magluwag kapag mataas ‘yung bilang ng kaso kasi magkakaroon ng compounding effect ‘yung pagluwag at pagtaas ng kaso. Siguro kung may bakuna na tayo malaking factor ‘yun kung maraming pumasok na bakuna sa April. (That would have been one of the requirements to relax restrictions) when the number of cases goes down. It is difficult to relax when the number of cases is high because the relaxation and increase of cases will have a compounding effect. Maybe if we have a vaccine, that’s a big factor if a lot of vaccines come in in April),” he added.