hospital, parking lot, Laguna, COVID-19

Suspected COVID-19 patients and relatives rest in a parking lot turned into a COVID ward outside a hospital in Binan town, Laguna province south of Manila on September 6, 2021, with record infections fueled by the hyper-contagious Delta variant. (Photo by Maria Tan / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila driven by the Delta variant, the Department of Health is not yet fully convinced that the worst of the recent wave may have been over.

During the Laging Handa public briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire countered the statement of OCTA Research that claimed that the surge in infections in the National Capital Region may have already peaked its highest record daily cases.

“Hindi pa po natin masabi sa ngayon, kasi itong peak, [ibig sabihin], ‘yung pinakamataas na makukuha nating numero [ay narating na] at pagkatapos noon ay patuloy na bababa,” Vergeire said.

(We cannot say yet that cases have already peaked. When cases peak, that means you have reached the highest number of the cases and then it will continue to go down.)

Vergeire noted that there was single-day increase of almost 8,000 cases last week, but this eventually went down to around 5,000 to 5,500 and later, to 5,800 recently. Still, cases have not been consistently slowing down.

“So tataas, bababa. At this point in our analysis, hindi pa natin nakikita na nag-peak na tayo dito sa mga kaso. Pinag-aaralan po nating maiigi ‘yan,” she said.

(So the numbers will increase then decrease. At this point in our analysis, we don’t see that cases have already peaked. We are still studying that.)

According to Vergeire, cases in Metro Manila even increased by eight percent, from the 5,410 seven-day moving average from September 4 to 10, to 5,825 from September 11 to 17.

Vergeire’s statement comes after OCTA Research senior fellow Prof. Guido David said that early monitoring indicates that the surge of COVID-19 cases may have already peaked in Metro Manila, noting a decreased reproduction number of 1.22 and positivity rate of 24 percent.

Reproduction number is the average number of people infected by a coronavirus-infected individual, while positivity rate is the percentage of people found positive for the virus among those tested.

However, David stressed that it is not yet definite that cases in Metro Manila have already peaked. “The statement was, we may have already peaked, but it will be clearer in the coming week,” he said.


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