COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila already peaked, says Duque

Published January 24, 2022, 3:13 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Coronavirus disease cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) have peaked, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday, Jan. 24.


“Lumalabas nag-peak na at nakikita natin na ilang araw nang sunod-sunod na bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang porsiyentong iniaambag nito sa ating total case load (IT shows that it [cases] already peaked and we can see in the past few days that cases are continuously going down and NCR only contributes a small percentage to the total case load),” Duque said during a Laging Handa press briefing.

OCTA research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco has mentioned in a Go Negosyo town hall meeting on Jan. 5 that they are hoping that the country will also follow South Africa’s pattern in relation to the surge of cases caused by the COVID-19 variant Omicron.

Guido David of OCTA also also shared in a CNN interview on Jan. 5 shared that in South Africa, the surge in COVID-19 cases started late November but has already started to decrease by the first week of January. David said that this occurrence actually surprised a lot of experts worldwide, considering how fast the cases rose, and how quickly it also fell.

Asked on whether this will be a factor in reverting Metro Manila back to Alert Level 2, Duque aired its possibility but mentioned that “it is not yet cast in stone” it will still be discussed with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

One of the factors the Department of Health (DOH) and the IATF looks at when deciding to de-escalate according to Duque is the two-week growth rate. He said that it should be at the moderate risk level which means the current growth rate should be between 0 to 200 percent compared to the previous two weeks.

He added that the average daily attack rate should be between one to seven average cases per 100,000 population.

Lastly, healthcare utilization rate such as the total bed utilization and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) utilization rate should be at low risk classification, or 49 percent and below. Duque said that once these are met, Metro Manila can return to Alert Level 2.

“Pero pag-uusapan pa rin yan sa Thursday. Baka kailangan na kailangan ay tingnan na rin kung talaga naman na malinaw na healthcare utilization rate ay nagkaroon na ng pagbabaklas, iyong decoupling. Kumbaga, tumaas iyong kaso pero iyong mga severe at critical (cases] nasa baba (We will discuss it on Thursday. We may need to see if there is a clear decoupling in the healthcare utilization rate. This means that cases are going up but severe and critical cases are low),” Duque explained.

“We will need to review the metrics. Hindi natin masabi sa ngayon dahil gusto nating makita iyong patuloy na pagbagsak ng mga kaso (We cannot say now because we want to see the continued decline of COVID-19 cases),” he added.