HPAAC warns against letting guard down amid declining COVID-19 cases

Unmindful of the danger due to COVID-19, shoppers flock in Divisoria, Manila, on March 20, 2021. The Philippines, on Monday, April 26, 2021, has recorded over one million total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. (MANILA BULLETIN/Mark Balmores)

An alliance of health professionals on Thursday, Oct. 28, called on the public not to let their guard down amid the decreasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases being reported daily.

“We may be seeing the case trends decline in the past few weeks. Although 3,000 cases per day may be low relative to the previous weeks, this level is still high enough to fuel a surge,” the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) said in a statement.

The HPAAC said that some countries are currently experiencing a surge in cases anew.
“The global trend in COVID cases is on the rise again. Some countries are already bracing for the fourth wave. It’s just a matter of time before this is felt in the Philippines,” the group said.

The group also reminded the public that the country has yet to vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity.

“Let us not be lulled into complacency. We have not reached herd immunity yet. Our slow vaccination rates mean that someone’s father, mother, brother, sister or child is not yet protected from severe illness or death,” said HPAAC.

The HPAAC also urged the public to encourage their family members to get vaccinated.

“Vaccine hesitancy can cost lives. Let us continue to reach out to our constituents, employees, and families to ensure that they have access to the right information, and the platforms required to schedule and receive their doses,” said HPAAC.

The HPAAC also emphasized the importance of proper ventilation in establishments.

“This has serious implications across transportation, workplace, and business settings. APAT DAPAT (Air Circulation, Physical Distance, Always Wear Mask and Shield, Time) remains to be a viable strategy but greater focus must be placed on ensuring good air quality,” the group said.

“Reopening without investing on architectural and engineering controls to improve ventilation means forcing the public to return to the same unsafe conditions that can encourage virus spread,” it added.

The HPAAC also said that the response against COVID-19 should be further strengthened.

“Ensure that systemic interventions are working at the local level. There should be coordination structures between communities and hospitals to ensure patients get the care they need,” it said.

“Interoperable data management systems should be able to guide timely decision-making. Evidence-based standards should guide public health measures like quarantine & isolation, border control and testing,” it added.