Why severe, critical COVID-19 cases are so high: PH counts lots of old cases, says OCTA

Published November 28, 2021, 9:10 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz


Independent research group OCTA said the number of active cases in the country should be much lower by about 48 percent once old cases, from March 2020 to September 2021, are resolved.

“As of Nov. 27, 2021, the DOH [Department of Health] bulletin reported 17,052 active cases, of which only 54.9 percent were either mild or asymptomatic. With moderate, severe, and critical cases (MSC) accounting for 45 percent of active cases, the question was why the percentage of MSC cases is so high,” OCTA said in a paper released on Sunday, Nov. 28.

The research group cited that if it were to compare the DOH case bulletin on July 7, 2021, only 5.2 percent of active cases were in the MSC group.

“We note that 1,418 cases were dated in 2020, of which 1,124 or 79 percent were in the MSC group,” OCTA said.

It added that from January 2021 until June 2021, the number of cases still active was 1,781, of which 1,000 or 56 percent were from the MSC group.

Furthermore, the third quarter of 2021, from July to September 2021, included 4,916 still active cases, of which 4,268 or 87 percent were in the MSC group.

“This means that 8.3 percent of active cases were 2020 cases, 10.4 percent were reported in the first half of 2021, and 28.8 percent were reported in the third quarter of 2021,” OCTA said.

“Most of these cases should have already been resolved, i.e. tagged as recovered or died,” it pointed out.

OCTA noted that of the 8,115 active cases with a date of reporting from March 2020 to September 2021, 6,392 or 78.8 percent were in the MSC group.

“Except in extreme circumstances, cases [are] generally resolve[d] within one to two months,” it said.

“As an illustration, if we exclude cases dating from March 2020 to September 2021 from the list of active cases, and only count cases reported October to November 2021, the number of active cases in the database would decrease from 17,052 to 8,937, or a reduction of 48 percent,” it further noted.

In a data set where only active cases from October to November 2021 are counted, OCTA said that the percentage of cases would be as follows: asymptomatic, 9 percent; mild, 78 percent; moderate, 7 percent; severe, 5 percent; and critical, 1 percent.

“This distribution is close to being consistent with the distribution of cases by status typically observed in the Philippines,” it said.

OCTA said that while it understands that the database depends on the reporting from all over the country, it cited the importance of analyzing the distribution of new and old active cases in order to understand that there has been no major shift in the health status of COVID-19 cases, and that majority of cases are still in the mild and asymptomatic category, once old cases have been resolved.