PH dealing with 4th COVID-19 wave–PCP

Published September 20, 2021, 3:24 PM

by Analou de Vera


The head of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) said that the country is currently in the “fourth wave” of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections amid the continued increase in cases.

“Well, basically yes, if we consider the start of the pandemic as the initial or first wave, albeit small wave,” said PCP President Dr. Maricar Limpin in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

Limpin said that her statement was also based on the “article from The Conversation.”

Based on its website, The Conversation was a “leading publisher of research-based news and analysis.”

In an article last Sept. 9, The Conversation said that the country “has experienced four waves of COVID-19.” The first one was in April 2020. The second wave was experienced from early June to August of 2020. And the third wave was in April 2021.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, the head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Department of the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, said he “can’t fully disagree if we are in a fourth or third wave,” when asked about his opinion about the country’s current trend of COVID-19 infections.

“The current wave is longer compared to the previous surge of cases. We started getting to have full occupancy in our ICU beds from third to last week of July and until now we see more cases,” Solante said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

Solante said there were also patients “less than 60 years old being hospitalized compared to previous surge and some of them didn’t even have comorbidities.”

“We also experienced a very high secondary attack among (the) household of confirmed positives. This means higher household transmission compared to previous surge of cases,” he added.

Spikes or waves

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana believed that the trend of COVID-19 cases should not be coined as “wave.”

“I’d rather call them spikes than waves. Waves imply a single source of infection that spread(s). It’s also not a formal epidemiological term,” he also told Manila Bulletin.

“For COVID, it’s obviously multiple introductions and the cases increase in unison resulting in a peak,” he said.

Whatever term it is, one thing is clear: the healthcare utilization is rising, said Salvana.

“Whether wave or spike, the bottomline is (this) increase in our healthcare utilization,” he said.

“The best way to address these spikes is to continue vaccinating to decrease the risk of severe disease while also working to increase healthcare capacity,” added Salvana.