We now have 61,266 total COVID cases in the country. Photo by George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Culture Spotlight

UP predicted the PH would have 60,000 COVID cases by end-July—but we crossed that today

The bulk of the new 2,498 cases comes from the National Capital Region. All cities in Metro Manila also tallied at least one new case today. BY BENJAMIN CO MD
ANCX | Jul 16 2020

Infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology expert Dr. Benjamin Co has been thankfully breaking down coronavirus numbers in his personal blog since the outbreak started. The perspective he provides is informative, and comforting in those who are craving for a clear picture of how we are faring against the virus. Dr. Co will share daily updates and analysis of the Department of Health reported numbers with ANCX. 


Let me start off with a disclaimer, as the Health Agency would do. Whatever is written here is based on the information released by the Department of Health (DoH) at the time of publication. Whatever changes DoH makes in their data later on, well, that’s a different story in itself. As they say in their disclaimer that “the total cases reported may be subject to change as these numbers undergo constant cleaning and validation.”

We did not need to wait till the end of July. 

As of 4 P.M., we have crossed the 60,000 mark with 2,498 new confirmed cases out to 84.5 percent (71 of 84 labs) reporting. We now have 61,266 total cases with 75.5 percent or a whopping 1,886 cases coming from National Capital Region (NCR) alone. The remaining provinces that round up the top five: Cebu with 198; two provinces in Region IVA, namely, Cavite with 57 and Laguna with 44; and Davao del Sur with 44 cases.

This is the most number of cases NCR has ever registered since the start of the pandemic. And if we review the breakdown of the data yesterday on the 708 cases in NCR, one should not be surprised at the hospitals hollering that they’re full to the brim with their COVID wards.

The number of active cases significantly now up from 36,260 to 38,183. There are 29 new deaths reported today (eight in July, 19 in June, and two in May). By region, 16 of the deaths were from Region 7, three from Region XI, and one from CARAGA. 

The case fatality rate is lower at 2.68 percent (from 2.74 percent), and the recovery rate is down at 35 percent from a previous 35.64 with only 467 recoveries reported. The increase in number of new reported cases today accounted for the lower CFR and lower recoveries. 

Remember: the outcome of the cases today will not be felt until four to six weeks later. The outcome in the deluge of cases recorded since the last week of June is expected to come in the last week to the first weeks of August. 

According to the case bulletin, as of July 15, 2020, there are 85 testing sites (63 RT-PCR and 22 GeneXpert laboratories) in the country. A total of 984,313 total individual tests have been done. But there is no breakdown on the data provided today.

On the COVID-19 tracker, however, there is data for the previous day.

The DoH simply reports that there are now 984,313 people who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. Of these, all we know is that as of July 13, 2020, the cumulative positivity rate in the country is eight percent.

Note the update in the testing capacity of the same date, July 13, 2020. Based on the updated information for July 13, there were more positives (2,388 vs 2,257) at the updated report with an increase in daily positivity from 13.5 percent to 13.52 percent.

Of the 1,310 new confirmed cases yesterday afternoon, 54 percent (708) were from NCR alone. The other contributors included Regions IVA (169 cases), VII (208 cases), Region VI (134 cases), Region X (47 cases), and Region IX (42 cases). Only BARMM did not have a case reported yesterday.

All cities in NCR had at least one reported case. The cities with more than 40 new cases yesterday were Manila (110), Navotas (99), Quezon City (96), Makati (82), Malabon (74), Muntinlupa (64), Parañaque (48), and Caloocan (45). 

Other cities with double digits include Las Piñas (18), Pasig and Taguig (17 each), Pasay (16), and Marikina (11).

Those with single digits were Mandaluyong (3), San Juan and Valenzuela (2 each) and one case for Pateros. There is one case with no tagged location.

Region VII registered 208 new cases yesterday with 88 from Cebu City, 63 from Cebu Province, 27 from Lapu-Lapu, 20 from Mandaue. 8 from Negros Oriental and 2 from Bohol. 

Region IVA ranked third today with 169 total cases. They are distributed as follows: Laguna (64), Cavite (46), Rizal and Batangas (26 each), and Quezon (7). 

Region VI had 134 total cases. Of these, 82 were from Iloilo Province and four from Iloilo City; 28 from Negros Occidental, 10 from Capiz, 9 from Bacolod City, and one from Guimaras. 

In Region IX, Zamboanga had 32 new cases of the 42 reported in the region while in Region X, Cagayan de Oro had 19 cases of 47 cases in the region.

The other cities with the highest reports for yesterday were Cebu City (22); Cagayan de Oro (19); San Pedro, Laguna (18); Davao City (16); and Biñan, Laguna (12).

Our seven-day average for new cases and deaths? Based on July 15, 2020 data, 1,201 new cases a day and 43 deaths per day. With 15 days left in July, the cases are all over now. Bearing the brunt is NCR. Will another stricter lockdown help? Perhaps. The question is will it be enough? And can the economy take it? Because another lockdown in NCR will definitely send the Philippines on a tailspin beyond anyone’s imagination. It will be a choice between life and livelihood.

But let’s look at the epidemiological data at hand. Let’s just use total cases, cases per million, case fatality rate, growth rate, and yes doubling time.

Below are the top five regions in terms of cases of COVID-19. These five regions alone contribute to 82 percent of the total cases in the country. NCR pours in more than half of the new cases. NCR and Region VII have more cases per million than the Philippine average. The CFR in all the top regions are higher than the national average of 2.79 percent. And all, except for Region VII are seeing higher growth rates than the overall growth rate of the country. Except for Region VII, all are seeing doubling times shorter than the national average of 30 days.

The implication of this is that each region will have various outcomes: recoveries and deaths. The more congested, crowded and populous areas are most highly affected. Indeed, commerce has a price to pay in the pandemic.

Let’s try to make the data more granular. 

When it is broken down into the top five cities in the Philippines that contribute to the COVID-19 statistics, these five cities (Cebu City, Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan, and Makati) alone contribute to almost one-third of the total cases in the Philippines (30 percent). All of them have more cases per million population when compared to the national average. All have case fatality rates way above the national average. The growth rates and doubling time are variable as they depend on daily cases reported by these LGUs.


The world

The number of cases in the world reported yesterday is up again with almost 230,000 new confirmed cases and the seven-day average is now at 215,365 new confirmed cases per day. This means that in less than two days, the world is set to cross the 14 million mark. Total deaths last night was up with 5,478 deaths and the seven-day average is up at 4,936 deaths per day. 

The global case fatality rate is lower at 4.28 percent and recovery rate up at 59.6 percent due to record high number of cases over the past week. Recovery rates are not very reliable indicators because they are subjective to the country’s definition of how and when they consider patients “recovered.”

Data from WorldOMeters.info.

The United States has quickly passed the 3.6 million mark with an astounding 71,750 new confirmed cases. A breaking record of 1,001 deaths were reported yesterday. The top three states contributing to yesterday’s haul were Texas (+12,235), Florida (+10,181), and California (+9,687).

The case fatality rate in the US is now at 3.87 percent with 3,617,474 cases as of this report. 

Brazil stays in second spot with 1,970,909 and continues to report the highest death cases in the world with 1,261 deaths overnight. Brazil is set to approach the next million milestone most likely tomorrow. 

South Africa had more than 12,000 cases reported overnight, overtaking Spain for the eight spot in the world.

Top 10 countries that had the highest new cases overnight were:

  • USA – 71,750
  • Brazil – 39,705
  • India – 32,682
  • South Africa – 12,757
  • Mexico – 7,051
  • Russia – 6,422
  • Colombia – 5,271
  • Argentina – 4,236
  • Peru – 3,857
  • Bangladesh – 3,533

The Philippines remains in overall 33rd place in total number of cases in the world, second to Indonesia in Southeast Asia, and first in the Western Pacific Region based on the World Health Organization.