Duterte on record-high 22,000 COVID daily case tally: 'Not as many fatalities'

At least the Philippines' coronavirus disease (COVID-19) death toll isn't that high.

(Malacañang photo/ Unsplash)

President Duterte offered this perspective following the grim report Monday, Aug. 30 that the Philippines recorded over 22,000 fresh cases of COVID-19--the country’s highest ever tally in the ongoing pandemic.

"There’s a rise of COVID cases all over. Hirap ang Amerika ngayon. Ang Europe is suffering from a... Maraming mas namatay, Turkey, maraming patay. Saudi Arabia, mas marami ang patay. Ito atin, hawa lang. Ang patay natin hindi masyado ganoon karami (America is having a hard time. Europe is suffering from a...there are more people dying in Turkey. Same case with Saudi Arabia. We are only dealing with transmissions. Our fatalities aren't that many)," he said during the pre-recorded "Talk to the People" public briefing on Monday night, which was aired Tuesday morning, Aug. 31.

The Philippines has recorded around two million infections from COVID-19 since the respiratory illness was first detected in the country in January 2020. Of the figure, over 33,000 have succumbed to it.

According to the President, Filipinos have to do the "same thing" in order to keep safe from the deadly virus.

"Let us continue to be safe from COVID and its variant by ganoon rin (the same thing), continuing to observe our minimum public health standards: mask, hugas, iwas (wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds) and please vaccinated as soon as your turn comes and avoid being complacent about protocols," Duterte said.

"Alam mo, sabi ko sa inyo walang iba. Ang panlaban natin sa COVID ay ang bakuna. Mayroon tayong problema ngayon. Nag-mutate, may variants nag --- nag kanyang sarili, nag-iba ang anyo ng mga animal. Mayroon ng COVID D na hindi pa natin alam kung kaya ba natin itong sugpuin. Whether or not ‘yung vaccines natin ngayon puwede dito sa mga mutants, mga variants (Our weapon against COVID is the vaccine. There is nothing else, like I told you. We have a problem right now. We now have the COVID D and we don't even know yet. Whether or not the vaccines that we have can work against these mutants and variants)," he noted.

The Philippines is known to have one of thel longest lockdowns in the world as far as the pandemic is concerned.

Pointing to the 22,000-case tally, Duterte said: "Whether the rise in the number of cases due to the Delta variant or not, we need to recalibrate our response."

"Although we have seen the positive effect of the recent ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in NCR (National Captial Region), which lowered the reproduction rate ---humina ang hawaan of the virus (transmission of the virus slowed down)---we are also evaluating whether granular or localized lockdowns would work best in our current situation.

"Kailangan pag-aralan ito ng task force (The task force needs to look into this)," he said, referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or simply the IATF.