COVID single-day fresh cases record downplayed; 'PH still on track,' says Roque

The national government is 'still on track" as far as its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) containment plan is concerned, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a virtual press briefing Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The COVID-19 case projections presented by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque during the virtual press briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 1 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

"We are still on track. Iyan po talaga iyong inaasahan natin (That's what we are expecting), given iyong (the) 60 percent increased transmissibility ng (of the) Delta variant," Roque said.

The Palace official was reacting to last Monday’s fresh COVID-19 case tally of 22,366--the largest single-day number ever recorded since the new coronavirus was first detected in the Philippines early last year.

The figure came at the heels of a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period in the COVID hotspot of Metro Manila from Aug. 6 to 20, and in the middle of a subsequent modified ECQ (MECQ) period from Aug. 21 to 31.

Roque's response--like that of President Duterte's earlier--was not one of panic. Like his boss, he instead gave some perspective as to how worse the daily case rate would be had there been no ECQ.

"Nandiyan din po iyong ating projection na kung hindi tayo nagsara nang mas maaga (We also have a projection that says, if we didn't impose a lockdown earlier), by now, we would have at least mga 125,000 cases per day. 'Di ba po? (Right?)"

"So nakita po ninyo (So as you can see), we are on track, pero hindi po natin sinasabi na kinakailangan eh magpabaya na ‘no, hindi po (but in no way are we saying that we should be negligent, no)," explained the Palace mouthpiece.

The Philippine government uses a data crunching tool called Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler or FASSSTER to aid itself in making decisions in its fight against COVID-19.

Roque said the 22,366 single-day case record falls within "a range" of a projection that took into account the lockdowns imposed. The ECQ is the strictest quarantine level possible.

"Napakataas pa din po nitong numerong ito (22,366) at hindi pa rin sapat iyong mga nababakunahan nating kababayan. So kinakailangan mask, hugas, iwas at bakuna pa rin (This number is still very high and the number of our vaccinated country is not enough. So let's stick to wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding crowds, and getting the vaccine)," he said.