Experts studying the coronavirus outbreak in the country said that the Philippines may hit 1 million COVID-19 caseload by the end of April.
“Before the end of April, the Philippines is expected to have recorded more than 1,000,000 total COVID-19 cases,” the Octa Research group said in its latest report on Monday, April 5.
This latest projection comes just as the Philippines had recently been logging over 10,000 new daily COVID-19 infections, even hitting 15,310 cases on Friday, April 2.
On Monday, the Philippines reported 8,355 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 803,398.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday morning said that it was “too early” to say that the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila slowed down COVID-19 transmission, refuting a report from Octa Research.
The Octa Research had cited in its report the decline in the capital region’s reproduction number (R) – the number of people that one COVID-19 positive case can infect – from 1.88 (March 22-28) to 1.61 (March 29-April 4).
But Vergeire said that the country should expect a relatively low number of reported cases in the coming days as some testing centers did not operate during Holy Week. She cautioned the public against interpreting the anticipated lower tally as a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19.
Significant ‘increases’ in Laguna, Batangas, Pampanga
Meanwhile, the Octa team noted that in the “NCR Plus” bubble, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan had high positivity rates greater than 20%.
“Only Bulacan had less than 60% hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19. In Cavite and Laguna, ICU occupancy for COVID-19 was above the 70% critical level, while in Bulacan and Rizal, ICU occupancy was above 90%,” the experts said.
Outside the “NCR Plus” bubble, the Octa team said that Batangas and Pampanga both had one week growth rates above 50%.
“Batangas had a positivity rate greater than 20%. Hospital bed and ICU occupancy in Batangas were below the 70% critical level but above 60%. Hospital bed and ICU occupancy were above 70% in Pampanga,” they added.
The so-called “NCR Plus” – Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan – is under ECQ until April 11 to address congestion in hospitals.
In terms of hospital care utilization, the DOH said the public would see the effects of the ECQ around three to four weeks after the lockdown implementation.
In recent weeks, relatives of COVID-19 patients have been turning to social media for help in finding available hospitals for admission, with some of them narrating how their loved ones have died without proper treatment due to full capacity in hospitals. – Rappler.com