'Mababa tayo sa ratio': Duterte continues to downplay PH COVID numbers

President Duterte has continued to downplay the figures that the Department of Health (DOH) is recording in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) scourge.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

In his taped "Talk to the People" public briefing on Friday night, Sept. 10, which was aired Saturday morning, Sept, 11, Duterte read out loud the latest tallies of the agency when it comes to the pandemic.

"Today the DOH reported 17,964 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number number of active cases to 175,470. The positivity rate is at 28 percent," he said.

"There are 168 reported deaths today. Marami yan (That is a lot). The total number of deaths is now, sa Pilipinas ha, namatay (these are the deaths in the Philippines), 34,899. Or 1.06 of the total cases," he added.

"Alam mo, when you compare this with the other nations, kunin natin doon sa number of population, medyo mababa tayo sa ratio (when we compare it to the number of population, our ratio is somewhat low)," Duterte pointed out.

The Chief Executive, who has been very defensive about the performance of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III when it comes to the country’s pandemic response, also said that 9,067 new recoveries from the illness was recorded Friday.

"Around 90 percent...already recovered since last year," he said.

The Philippines is in the middle of a surge in terms of new daily cases of COVID-19, with the fresh cases regular reaching beyond 20,000.

Duterte's attitude toward the COVID-19 figures hasn't been that of panic--last Aug. 31, after the Philippines logged in over 22,000 fresh infections, he highlighted that the country does not have that many deaths.

“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.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had said earlier this month that the country was "still on track " in terms of its projection of COVID-19 cases.