'Downward trend' in NCR+ COVID-19 cases still unstable -- OCTA expert

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David implored residents of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna to not be complacent as the downward trend in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases remains "unstable."

David said the COVID-19 patterns they have observed are not yet definite.


"Yung trend although downward na medyo unstable lalo na sa buong NCR Plus. In fact may LGU sa NCR Plus, sa Bacoor in particular, na tumaas yung bilang ng kaso. So hindi lahat ng local government units ay pababa na yung bilang ng kaso. Sa NCR halos lahat pababa na. (The trend, although downward, is a bit unstable especially throughout NCR Plus. In fact, there is an LGU in NCR Plus, in Bacoor in particular that has reported an increase in the number of cases. So not all local government units have seen the number of cases going down," he said in a GMA interview on Monday, April 26.

"Pero hindi lahat ay tuloy-tuloy na yung pagbaba so masasabi natin na sa ngayon unstable pa yung trends. Hindi pa definite yung patterns na nakikita natin. May danger pa na kapag naging kampante tayo baka tumaas pa ulit yung kaso. May downward trend na pero concerned tayo na dahil unstable pa siya kahit ano pwede pa mangyari. (But the decline is continuous in all areas so we can say that right now the trends are still unstable. The patterns we see are not yet definite. There is even a danger that if we become complacent, the case may rise again. There is a downward trend but we are concerned that because it is unstable, anything can still happen," he added.

As of Monday, the reproduction number in NCR was 0.89, which David noted was a significant improvement.

"Nakita natin na mas nag-improve nga siya compared sa projections namin. So mas mabilis na bumaba ang reproduction number kaysa dun sa inaasahan natin. (We saw that it has improved further than our projections. So the reproduction number dropped faster than we expected)," he said.

"Akala namin ngayon palang magleless than 1 yung reproduction number, ngayon 0.89 na. Pero a few days ago nag-less than 1 na yung reproduction number. (We thought the reproduction number will begin to be less than 1 this week, but now it's 0.89. But a few days ago the reproduction number was already less than 1)," he added.

David is hoping that the significant gains from the strict COVID-19 restrictions will be sustained.

"So medyo maganda yung nakikita nating trajectory sa ngayon dun sa downward trend kasi kumpara last week yung average number sa NCR 3,570 cases per day mas mababa siya ng 24 percent. (So the trajectory we see right now is pretty good based on the downward trend because compared to last week, the average number in NCR is 3,570 cases per day, which is 24 percent lower)," he said.

OCTA Research Group recommended the extension of the implementation of modified enhanced community quarantine in the NCR Plus to ensure the continuous downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

"Ang recommendation ng OCTA as a group is iextend yung MECQ para tuloy mapababa yung bilang ng kaso kasi ngayon more than 3,000 per day pa rin yung average natin. Mataas pa rin yan. Maraming pa ring nangangailangan ng hospital admissions. (The recommendation of OCTA as a group is to extend the MECQ to further reduce the number of cases because now our average is still more than 3,000 per day. That's still high. Many still require hospital admissions)," David said.

"Hopefully, within two weeks mapababa na natin sa NCR yung average sa mga 2,000 cases per day. Manageable na yan. Kaya na ng hospitals na i-bear yung 2,000 cases per day. (Hopefully, within two weeks we will be able to lower the average in NCR to about 2,000 cases per day. That's going to be manageable. Hospitals can now bear 2,000 cases per day)," he added.