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Published April 13, 2021, 12:12 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza

MEDIUM RARE

Jullie Y. Daza

That’s how many mostly mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients were tagged as “recovered” last Sunday. Reasons enough to cheer – but what do the numbers mean?

ABS-CBN’s latest superstar, Edson Guido, head of data analytics, explains it this way:

“What DOH is doing is they report thousands of recoveries every Sunday as part of Oplan Recovery where they do ‘time-based tagging’ for mild and asymptomatic cases. If after 14 days patients are found to be without symptoms, they are tagged as recovered. DOH no longer requires repeat tests for these cases. If their symptoms progress, their status gets updated in the system to either severe or critical.”

It’s a practice, he added, that started in July last year. “The reason why the numbers are higher today (April 11) is because of the surge we’ve been seeing in recent weeks. More cases, more recoveries.” Remember, the first big surge in recoveries – 41,000-plus — was reported also on a Sunday, last Easter.

Oh, dear, let’s hope there won’t be another jump this coming Sunday, what with a “more relaxed” MECQ in place. Edson, speaking as a data analyst and not an MD, said the goal – or hope? – is to bring down infections to fewer than 10,000 a day and acquire more beds for more hospitals.

For businessman Sergio Ortiz-Luis, the wish is that government will consider “spending a few hundred million” to improve the healthcare system urgently with more and better-paid doctors and nurses, more beds, upgraded facilities. The line-always-busy One Hospital Command is an illusion, as a distressed doctor observed, almost tearing her hair, “with neither ambulance nor hospital to command.” Instead of padlocking the economy at the rate of P80 billion a day, IATF could save jobs and trades by spending wisely, Mr. ECOP advised.

The prognosis is not optimistic. There are 300 new variant cases, those variants being known to spread fast and viciously.

As human errors go, DOH continues to validate “even after classifying patients as recovered,” observed analyst Edson. “Some are even retagged as deaths or active cases after a few days or weeks.”

The silver lining I see is that our doctors and nurses, after one year’s heroic work, have grown on the job, better and betterer.

 
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