The OCTA Research group has expressed concern over the pandemic situation in Metro Manila as the reproduction number in the region soared to 1.15 amid the threat of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
OCTA fellow Prof. Guido David said the infection rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) dropped to 0.6 following the imposition of strict quarantine restrictions due to the surge in cases recently.
“Pero tumataas na siya. Last week nasa 0.9 na. Ngayon kasi tumaas na ulit, 1.15 na siya (But it has been rising. Last week it was at 0.9. Now it increased again and it is now at 1.15),” David said in a televised interview over GMA News on Thursday, July 22.
He explained that if the reproduction number is at 1.15, it means that 10 infected individuals can infect 11 people.
According to David, a reproduction number—the average number of secondary infections by each infected individual—between 0.9 and 1.1 is considered “moderate risk,” while figures above 1.1 is considered “high risk.”
“So it means nasa high risk na ang NCR ngayon sa reproduction number (So it means that NCR is now at high risk in terms of the reproduction number),” he said.
Daily cases may hit up to 10k
The research fellow projected the number of new cases in the country may reach up to 10,000 cases in the coming weeks.
“Medyo mabilis ang pagdami ng cases. We are expecting na baka umabot ng more than 8,000 cases (The number of cases is increasing relatively fast. We are expecting that it may reach more than 8,000 cases),” David said.
“It means medyo tumataas na ang cases (that the cases are on the rise), we might see 10,000 cases by next week or next, next week),” he added.
Delta variant causing spike ‘possible’
The research fellow believes that the feared Delta variant may be the driving factor behind the rise in cases in the country. Based on the latest government figures, new infections rose to 6,560 cases on July 21.
“It’s possible, binabantayan nga namin yung trend sa Delta variant. Nakita natin sa ibang bansa napakabilis niya (we are monitoring the trend of the Delta variant. We have seen in other countries that the transmission rate is very fast), it’s 50 percent more infectious compared to Alpha and Beta variants,” David said.
The independent research group is monitoring the number of cases in the country to determine what areas are experiencing a surge in infection.
“Pero the fact na tumataas sa NCR, this is concerning and it’s possible na may kinalaman dito ang Delta variant (But the fact that it is rising in NCR, this is concerning and it’s possible that the Delta variant is related to it),” he said.
“Na-control na natin yung Alpha and Beta variant so it must be something new or baka may combination na may Delta variant and iba pang involved (We have already controlled the Alpha and Beta variants so it must be something new or maybe it is a combination of the Delta variant and others involved),” he added.
But David was quick to note that this has to be confirmed yet through genomic sequencing to determine the prevalence of the variant in the community.
“Hindi pa natin mako-confirm iyon. Sequencing ang magko-confirm niyan (We can’t confirm that yet. Sequencing will confirm that). We are right now making assumptions,” he said.
“Pero I think its safe to say na kung nagkaka-surge na tayo (But I think it’s safe to say that if we have a surge) there is something behind it,” he added.