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.
[Disclaimer: Whatever is written here is based on 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 and as they say in their disclaimer: “the total cases reported may be subject to change as these numbers undergo constant cleaning and validation.”]
It’s official: we have passed the 80,000 mark today. We have also overtaken Sweden and Ecuador and moved up from 30th to 28th in the world with the most number of coronavirus cases.
With 2,110 confirmed cases out of a paltry 73 percent (66 of 90) laboratory submissions, the total number of cases is at 80,448 as of July 26, 2020.
NCR contributed to 63.7 percent of the total number of cases with 1,345 reported. Cebu is in second with 304 followed by Laguna with 109, Negros Occidental 66, and Rizal with 40 cases.
The number of active cases continues to climb from 50,763 to 52,406 overnight with only 382 recoveries reported. This brings down the recovery rate to 32.5 percent from a previous of 32.85 percent. The Philippines officially holds the record of most number of active cases in the ASEAN region. There were 39 reported deaths, bringing the fatality rate to 2.4 percent.
Of the 39 deaths, 35 occurred in July, two in June and two last April. As to location, 17 of the deaths (44 percent) were from NCR, 14 were from Region VII, two from Region IVA, two from Region IX, and one each from Region I and Caraga.
Seventy four duplicates were removed from the total case count. Among these, 22 recovered cases and three deaths were removed after final validation. The health status of three (3) cases previous cases were updated. One who was declared as dead was updated as recovered while two who were declared are recovered were updated as deceased after final validation.
As of July 25, 2020, there are now 93 testing sites (70 RT-PCR and 23 GeneXpert laboratories) in the country. The Philippines has tested close to 1.2 percent of the total population as it registers 1,232,957 individual tests done. (How many are repeat tests from previous positive patients or new confirmed cases is not indicated.)
The data yesterday
The Health Agency initially reported 2,851 positive cases from 26,080 individuals tested for a daily positive rate of 10.9 percent for July 23. On review of the data for the same date, there were actually 2,888 positives bringing the daily rate up to 11 percent.
On July 24, only 70 of 86 (81 percent) lab facilities reported 2,349 positives from 24,606 individuals tested or a daily rate of 10.2 percent. This is not congruent to the claim of DoH in their own infographic yesterday where they reported 2,019 new confirmed cases from 78 of 90 laboratories.
The Philippines has now tested 1,299,456 individuals (1.2 percent of the total population) with 106,509 positives from 1,210,561 individuals for a cumulative positive rate up at 8.8 percent.
A comparison of the testing results from NCR and Region VII shows that the daily positive rate in these epicenters are now similar to each other (13.7 percent) compared to the daily rate in the Philippines which was 10.2 percent last July 24. Both regions alone continue to contribute to more than 80 percent of the daily total positive test results in country.
Of the 2,019 new confirmed cases yesterday more than 55 percent (1,115) were from NCR. The other major contributors were Region VII (24.5 percent) and Region IV-A (10.5 percent). These three regions alone were responsible for 90 percent of the confirmed cases in the Philippines yesterday.
The top regions in terms of total number of cases are NCR (43,052), Central Visayas (13,044), Calabarzon (6,568), Central Luzon (1,972), and Davao (1,108).
The top five regions reported yesterday were NCR (1,115), Region VII (495), Calabarzon (213), Davao (49) and Western Visayas (35).
Only Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) had no reported case yesterday.
Now, on to my eternal pet peeve with be the “unknowns.” Until the data crunchers get that right, I will make them my daily concern until they find a way to fix this bothersome group. As a matter of fact, I will dedicate part of the blog just for the “unknown.”
One does not churn out data for the sake of having something to announce. It’s been months since I’ve been begging the agency to come up with good data. To not knowing where one-third of the reported cases actually are from is really bad management. It’s why we have very low recoveries and perhaps, even death rates. They’re basically “unidentified.”
In yesterday’s data alone, of the 2,019 reported cases, one was from an unknown region while 534 were from known regions but no identified municipality or city (no tagged location). That’s 26.5 percent of yesterday’s positive cases where we don’t know where their actual location is. It should not be a wonder why we have low recoveries and perhaps even low death rates, because more than one third of all cases in the Philippines, since the beginning of the pandemic have consistently been reported as “no tagged location.” Seriously, if you don’t know the exact location of these patients, how do you know their outcomes?
In NCR alone, 465 of the 1,115 cases or 42 percent, were classified as “unidentified.” Those demanding contact tracing and tracking and isolation should answer the question, how do you do these with the “unknown?”
I am not sure where the problem with this emanates from—the testing facility or the health agency. If it is a problem with the health facility, it’s a quick fix. Shut down the facility that refuses to submit all detailed information at once. They’re useless anyway. Remember, half-baked information is worse than providing no information at all. With half-baked information, we’re just guessing at everything.
Of the identified cases in NCR, the following cities had 40 or more cases: Quezon City (194), Makati and Taguig (59 each), Manila (49), and Malabon (48).
Other cities with double digit cases but fewerthan 40 were: Pasig (34), Mandaluyong (31), Caloocan (28), Marikina (27), Parañaque and Valenzuela (26 each), Pasay (21), Navotas (19), and Las Piñas (17).
Cities with single digit numbers were San Juan (8) and Muntinlupa (4).
Pateros had no reported case yesterday.
Among the other top regions outside of NCR, the following provinces in those regions had the highest cases: Cebu had 479 cases for Region VII, Cavite had 90 cases for Region IVA, Davao del Sur had 41 cases for Region XI and Negros Occidental had 18 cases for Region VI.
Region VII had almost 500 new confirmed cases broken down as follows: Cebu City 178, Lapu-Lapu 74, Mandaue 64, Talisay 64, Consolacion, 30, Minglanilla 22, Compostela 15, and Liloan 11. Twenty-six other cities/municipalities had single digit cases reported.
Calabarzon came in third with 213 total cases. Sixty-nine (32.3 percent) were unidentified (unknown city). Of the remaining that had tagged location, 14 were from Bacoor, 12 from Santa Rosa, and 10 from Antipolo. Thirty-five cities/municipalities reported single digit numbers.
Davao Region is fourth with 49 cases. Davao City reported 36 of the 49 cases.
Region VI wraps up the top five regions yesterday with 25 cities/municipalities reporting single digit numbers. Iloilo City had the most cases with four reported.
We have passed the 80,000 mark. We have five days left in July. At almost 2,000 cases a day, will we breach 90,000 by the end of July? Your guess is as good as mine.
The week in review
This week saw an additional 13,108 cases, 124 deaths and 3,685 recoveries.
The seven-day average for cases is close to 1,900 new cases a day.
The seven-day average for deaths is 18 deaths reported/day.
The cumulative positivity rate for testing by RT-PCR is up at 8.8 percent. Incidentally, there was a time with our positivity rates were actually between two to three percent. This was generally after the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). We now fall within the three to 10 percent zone.
Increased testing alone will not account for the rise in cases in NCR. As quarantine measures lax, people have the tendency to minimum health standards espoused by Department of Health. But they are not fully to blame. The poor data collection with so many “unknowns” made it an impossible task to undertake contact tracing and tracking of positive patients properly. Isolation and quarantine measures were being implemented too late in the pandemic as well. This should have been done much earlier when the numbers were still low, particularly in NCR and Region VII.
While the case fatality rate may be low at 2.42 percent, one has to remember that we have close to 25,000 unidentified cases (no tagged location. Almost 15,000 of them come from NCR alone. The concern for undocumented/unidentified/unknown cases is simple: if you don’t know who and where they are, how will you even know if they recovered or sadly, passed away? I cannot underscore the importance in the accuracy of data being reported daily, not just as mere statistical figures, but as truly epidemiological data.
For the past seven days, the Philippines has been averaging more than 25,000 tests per day.
Based on age classification, 6.8 percent of total cases (76,444 points) were among those less than 19 years old. The senior citizens accounted for 13.3 percent of the total. The majority (48 percent) of the coronavirus cases were between 20-39 years old. The remaining 30 percent were between 40-59 years of age.
On the category of fatalities: Among the pediatric age group, 1.5 percent of patients less than nine years old, 0.6 percent of patients between 10-19 years old died. In the geriatric age group on the other hand, 8.7 percent of patients 60-69, 14.5 percent between 70-79 and 18.3 percent 80 years old and up passed away due to COVID-19.
As of July 24, 2020, there are 1,937 facilities for COVID-19 patients in the country. Bed occupancy was at close to 52 percent.
However, one is cautioned in generalizing the above data of the country. The major epicenter, NCR, does not have the same outlook as the rest of the nation. Comparing the hospital occupancy on July 17, 22 and 24 (with July 24 in red), note the over-all occupancy of NCR is close to 75 percent compared to the general country facilities data of 52 percent. Each of the four districts in Metro Manila tested their limited with the first and fourth districts having more hospitals in the danger zone.
With close to 275,000 cases yesterday, the world breaks another million record and is at over 16.2 million cases already. The seven-day average is not at 251,561 cases daily, meaning at this trajectory we should be counting one million case every four days.
A total of 6,624 deaths were reported yesterday, driving the seven-day death average to 6,169 deaths/day.
The global case fatality rate is lower at 4 percent and is at 61.2 percent. Recovery rates are not very reliable indicators because they are subjective to the country’s definition of how and when they consider patients “recovered.” Death rates on the other hand, while more definitive of outcomes take a longer time to report and validate the cause of death.
Data from WorldOMeters.info.
The United States continues to dominate the contribution to global cases with 67,413 new cases overnight to bring the total number of cases to 4,315,709. They also reported 908 deaths overnight bringing their total deaths closer to 150,000 (case fatality rate = 3.46 percent).
The top three states with new cases yesterday were Florida (+12,199), California (+10,183), and Texas (+7,735).
Brazil stays in second spot with almost 2.4 million total cases with 48,234 new cases overnight and 1,111 new deaths.
India had the second highest cases overnight with 48,472 new cases to total 1,385,494 for the country.
Top 10 countries that had the highest new cases overnight were:
- USA – 67,413
- India – 48,472
- Brazil – 48,234
- South Africa – 12,204
- Mexico – 7,573
- Colombia – 7,254
- Russia – 5,871
- Argentina – 4,814
- Peru – 3,923
- Iraq – 2,832
The Philippines was number 15 among countries with the most number of cases reported in the world yesterday with 1,968 new cases. Indonesia was number 16 with 1,868 cases.
The real news of the day? Only Kazakhstan separates us from China. As to whether we will overtake China is not a question of whether we will or not. It’s a matter of when. And at the rate we’re going, the earliest would be in time for the State of the Nation Address. The latest, the morning after.
Understandably, it has now come to choosing which is more resilient? The economy or our immunity. As the world grapples with new surges, higher daily cases, and an overburdened healthcare system, there is no place for politics during a pandemic. The virus does not recognize alliances and differences. If we let politics decide on matters related to the pandemic, only the virus wins. In the end, we all lose.