The Philippines is projected to reach one million cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before the end of April – but this does not mean that the pandemic situation in the country is getting worse.
This was the assessment of OCTA Research fellow and University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Guido David, as the country now has 962,307 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 21.
“Tatamaan talaga natin yung 1 million total cases, unfortunately, before the end of the month (We will actually hit the 1 million total cases, unfortunately, before the end of the month),” David said in an interview over TeleRadyo.
“Baka mga April 26 or 27 natin tatamaan ‘yan based dun sa trajectory natin (Around April 26 or 27, we will hit that based on our trajectory),” he added.
But he explained that this does not mean that the pandemic situation in the country is getting worse, as the daily average number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) has declined.
“In fact it is improving because, two weeks ago in NCR, we averaged more than 5,000 cases per day. Right now, our average is at 4,300 cases. So it is decreasing,” he said.
NCR situation ‘improving’
The research fellow said Metro Manila currently has a negative growth rate of -11 percent compared to the previous week, and the region’s reproduction number has further dropped to 0.99 from around 2 before the imposition of the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“Malaki ang na improve. ‘Yung positivity rate natin bumababa na rin, nasa 22 percent sa NCR. So ang mga indicators natin are improving (There is a big improvement. Our positivity rate is also declining, at 22 percent in NCR. So our indicators are improving),” he said.
Hospitalization needs improvement
However, David pointed out that the capacity of hospitals still has to be improved as the number of cases remains high, and many people will still be in need of hospital care.
“Ang hindi pa lang nag-iimprove yung hospitalization. Kasi mataas pa rin yung bilang ng kaso (The hospitalization has not improved yet. Because the number of cases is still high),” he said.
“As long as mag ta-tally tayo ng mga three to 4,000 cases or more, marami pa rin ‘yan at marami pa rin mangangailangan ng hospital care (As long as we tally three to 4,000 cases or more, that is a lot and many will still need hospital care),”
David said hospitals are still overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, adding that it would take a while before the demand for hospitalization will subside.
ECQ a ‘big help’
The OCTA fellow said the imposition of the two-week ECQ in NCR-plus areas was a big help in reducing the number of cases.
But he noted that lockdown came at a “great economic cost” as many industries closed down following the implementation of the strict quarantine status.
“Yes, it came at great economic cost pero malaki ang natulong niya sa pag control ng cases kasi upward momentum tayo noon (but it helped a lot in controlling the cases because we had an upward momentum before),” he said.
Before the ECQ, David said that the number of cases in NCR increased by 60 percent, but this trend reversed following the ECQ.
“Yung mga indicators natin are pointing in the right direction (Our indicators are pointing in the right direction),” he said.
“Pero hindi ibig sabihin tapos na yung problema natin at pwede na tayong maging complacent at babalik na tayo sa dati, hindi pa (But it does not mean that our problem is over and we can be complacent and we will return to our normal lives before, not yet),” he added.