Pedestrians wait at the Guadalupe Bridge in Makati on March 27, 2021. Photo by Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Are the slightly lower Covid cases the past two days due to the ECQ?

The answer is no, according to our resident infectious diseases expert and Covid stats analyst 
BENJAMIN CO, MD | Apr 02 2021

With 8,920 new cases reported by DOH, April may look like it opened on a better note but that’s not exactly the case. 

As you comb through the infographics for Maundy Thursday, you can easily deduce that the lockdown, and the calls for a stricter lockdown, came two weeks late. Had the calls been made earlier, we would not be struggling the way we are today. Healthcare capacities have now breached the critical level of 70 percent—data that sounds most likely underreported as almost all hospitals in Mega Manila are seeing queues of patients waiting outside Emergency Rooms for someone to even attend to them.

The positivity rate is at an all time high of 21.1 percent (or almost 1 in every 4-5 people tested ends up positive for COVID-19). Worst of all is the number of active cases which is now almost 140,000, or 18.4 percent of the total cases. This is one of the highest number of active cases in the world based on the number of positive cases for COVID-19. Unless the positivity rate drops together with the number of active cases, this surge will not be controlled before Easter Sunday. The ECQ should be extended further, notwithstanding the economic concerns of the business sector.

Are the slightly lower cases the past two days due to the ECQ? The answer is NO. The ECQ is not a miracle solution. The incubation period of SARS-COV2 is between 2-14 days. The duration of the incubation period here makes controlling the infectiousness of this virus a challenge. Shortening the duration of lockdowns and quarantine have the potential to create a sense of complacency among patients who are asymptomatic and who are not all tested, thereby jeopardizing any gain made from stricter lockdowns. Mobility is the key driver to this infectious disease—and sadly, also the key driver to economic revival in the country. But cutting the stricter lockdown short will have serious consequences to the healthcare sector and any gain made can be wiped out in a week if the public is allowed to freely roam the streets again.

The National Capital Region reported more than 5,000 cases yesterday, marking a grim moment as that number represents 56 percent of the total new cases in the country. This is the highest percentage share for NCR in the past days. CALABARZON has 1,684 (19 percent), followed by Central Luzon with 882 (10 percent). These three regions together account for an astounding 85 percent of the total cases in the country.

There were 45 ROFs included in the case count and 31 cases with no information on a regional level.

In Mega Manila, Quezon City continues its quadruple digit roll with 1,047 cases (21 percent), followed by Manila with 783. Pasig is third with 410. Taguig, Caloocan, Makati, Marikina has less than 400 but more than 300 cases each. Parañaque and Pasay has less than 300 but more than 200 cases each. The cities with more than 100 but less than 200 cases are: Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa. There are 13 cases from unknown LGUs.

As in the past days, 14 of 17 LGUs in NCR continue to dominate the top 20 cities with most cases, with ranks 1 to 12 all belonging to NCR.

Among the provinces, Cavite leads the pack with 527 cases. Three provinces in the CALABARZON region are among the top five: Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.