Metro Manila's COVID cases may take a while before it decreases below 3k per day — OCTA Research

Published August 23, 2021, 2:36 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Metro Manila will likely continue to record over 3,000 daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases until before the end of September due to a slow decrease in the rate of infections in the region, OCTA Research said on Monday, Aug. 23.

“Based on the current patterns that we are seeing, which we hope we continue to sustain this pattern, we will be on a downward trend by the first week of September. This may be delayed and we could see a downward trend by the second week of September,” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a virtual forum.

“If we follow these projections, we’re going to be seeing below 3,000 cases before the end of September. This gives us hope that we will be able to definitely save the fourth quarter. As PA [Presidential Adviser] Joey [Concepcion] mentioned, this is important for businesses,” he added.

David further noted that even with a slower decrease in the reproduction number, Metro Manila may still see a decrease in the number of cases by the second week of September.

“We would be down by around 4,000 cases per day by the end of September,” he said.

“This would still be a high daily caseload but it will still be manageable because we would be on a downward trend,” he added.

The Department of Health reported 3,973 new cases of COVID-19 in Metro Manila on Sunday, Aug. 22.

David explained that the current rate of decrease of the reproduction number is slower than the rate of decrease back in March when Metro Manila was placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Reproduction number refers to the average number of secondary infections by each infected individual and is the primary indicator used by OCTA to study COVID trends in the country.

“Slightly concerning is that the decrease in the reproduction number is not as fast as what we saw last March. Nevertheless, the reproduction number is decreasing,” he said.

“Around the time that we implemented ECQ, there was a decrease in the growth rate before it became a negative growth rate, meaning it started to go on a downward trend. In fact, we are seeing these patterns here now. It’s very similar to the pattern when we were about to have a negative growth rate or a decrease in cases in the NCR. If we continue this trend, we will soon see a decrease in cases,” he added.

While the ECQ is “weaker” in August as compared to the ECQ in March-April, molecular biologist and OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco is hopeful that the COVID surge in Metro Manila will be reversed.

“The April ECQ took one week to reverse the Alpha/Beta surge in the NCR. This August ECQ looks like it took two weeks to, hopefully, reverse the Delta surge in the NCR. Why is this? Because of weaker ECQ and stronger variant,” he explained.

“We are still far from 100 percent capacity but the concern is that we will have 100 percent personnel capacity in the next few weeks or so in the NCR,” he said.