Health expert compares Omicron surge in PH to chickenpox spread

Published January 17, 2022, 3:18 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

A public health expert compared the Omicron surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines to chickenpox spread, saying that it exhibits a “centripetal distribution.”


Centripetal distribution means that any damage or abnormal change is more concentrated in the center, which in the case of the Omicron surge in the country is the National Capital Region (NCR), said public health expert and former National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon.

“It starts at the chest [in this case, the NCR], then spreads to the neck, face, abdomen, back, and arms [other regions in the country]. Lesions may be found in all stages of development and healing in affected areas,” said Leachon in a Facebook post on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Leachon added that the situation in NCR is slightly improving but the infections have now spread to CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal Quezon), Central Luzon, and other “peripheral” regions.

“NCR has [a better] healthcare system than other regions. The farther you are from NCR, the poorer the healthcare system [is]. Alert Level 4 proposal for NCR should have been made earlier with high cases. It’s irrelevant now. The virus is spreading like wildfire,” said Leachon.

He likewise reiterated that Omicron can be deadly in the countryside with a low vaccination rate and insufficient health care capacity. The public health expert previously stated that the NCR should be placed under an Alert Level 4 status in order to stop the viral transmission of COVID-19 and to give way for the inoculation of the unvaccinated population.

Meanwhile, to prevent the further surge of infections, Leachon urged the public to observe flu-like symptoms, isolate, undergo a COVID-19 test, get vaccinated, and stay at home.