ECQ worked, saved lives; herd immunity to take 2-3 years – OCTA

Published April 18, 2021, 9:31 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

The OCTA Research Group said the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region and in the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR-plus) worked and saved lives.

Commuters board a jeepney after waiting for about half an hour in Philcoa, Quezon City as public transportation are only allowed 50 percent capacity during the enhanced community quarantine in NCR plus bubble. (Mark Balmores/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE)

“I’m a big supporter of the ECQ kahit na alam natin na maraming nahirapan sa ating mga kababayan. Ang goal ngayon, ang priority number one is not to open the economy but to deal with the surge. Did the ECQ work? It worked (I’m a big supporter of the ECQ, even though we know that many of our countrymen have suffered. The goal now, priority number one, is not to open the economy but to deal with the surge. Did the ECQ work? It worked),” OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye said in an interview with DZRH News.

“Marami pong dapat pang namatay kung hindi tayo nag ECQ. Mas malaki pa ang daily cases natin, papalo between 18,000 and 30,000 ang estimate natin kung wala tayong ginawa (Many more would have died if we did not impose ECQ. Our daily cases would have been bigger, we estimated between 18,000 and 30,000 if we did not do anything),” he added.

Rye noted that the average number of cases in January was only 500 a day but it reached 5,000 in March.

“Napakalaki po ng pagtaas. Napakabilis. In less than a month na kumalat ang pandemya, na-undermine ang lahat ng ating achievements nuong 2020 (The increase is huge. And was very fast. In less than a month of the pandemic, it undermined all our achievements in 2020) ,” he said.

OCTA said the ECQ has brought down the reproduction number in Metro Manila from 1.88 to 1.24 percent.

Rye added that this time, the surge was unique because it has different variants.

He said the government made a good decision to implement the two-week ECQ.

The government on Sunday, April 11, placed NCR Plus under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from April 12 to April 30, 2021.

Rye projected that after the two-week MECQ, the reproduction rate will become below one percent.

He added that the reproduction rate will most likely become below one this week if the government implements ECQ for another week since the process of MECQ is much slower.

OCTA, meanwhile, said it will take at least two to three years for the country to achieve herd immunity.

“I doubt if we are going to do it this year. Wala ho tayong supply. ‘Yun ho ang problema…Kahit na andiyan ‘yung pera at gusto natin, wala po tayong makukuhaan na supply na 70 million (We don’t have a supply. That’s the problem… Even if we have the money and we want it, we won’t be able to get a supply of 70 million),” Rye said.

“Matagal pa po ang herd community. Lalagpas tayo ng dalawa, tatlong taon (The herd community is still a long way to go. It will take around two to three years).”