MANILA, Philippines – From one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on January 30, the number of those infected in the Philippines has soared to 1,418 as of Sunday, March 29. The spread was taken lightly until cases started rising in mid-March.
The Philippines’ primary response was to impose more stringent measures via an “enhanced community quarantine” declared by President Rodrigo Duterte. This is in contrast to South Korea, which “flattened the curve” by prioritizing rapid testing and contact tracing without declaring a lockdown. We looked at the data curated by Our World in Data and found that as of March 20, the Philippines has been conducting only around 12 tests for every million people. (READ: [ANALYSIS] 3 ideas on mass testing: Where, how, and why?)
How do we make sense of this pandemic?
Former health secretary Manuel Dayrit led a Rappler+ Webinar on Monday, March 30, at 10 am, where he shared insights and answered questions from Rappler+ members. As health secretary under the Arroyo administration, Dayrit helped the Philippines deal with the Severe Acute Respiratory Disease (SARS) outbreak in 2002-2003.
To watch the full video below use the password “rapplerplus2020”.
“When is it going to peak? If we’re assuming that we’re now at 16,000-20,000 today, and if you’re assuming doubling times of every 5 days… we’re going to reach 75,000 in 15 days. Which is what the model stated. And that’s when our lockdown period ends,” Dayrit told Rappler CEO and Executive Maria Ressa in a Rappler Talk interview.
Rappler earlier published an analysis by data scientists Christopher Monterola and Erika Fille Legara about the results of their modeling of the spike in cases. They predicted that COVID-19 cases can reach up to 26,000 by the end of the month if not contained.
Even experts from the Department of Health and the World Health Organization expect that about 75,000 people could be infected by June if not enough is done to fight the spread of the virus. – Rappler.com