The Philippines logs almost 4,000 new COVID cases today. Photo by Lawrence Ruiz on Wikimedia Commons
Culture Spotlight

The Philippines’ record single-day tally of 3,954 brings it past Kazahkstan in the global total COVID case race

While there was a sudden, almost bewildering surge of recoveries, our current numbers still reflect a terrible story. It’s a tale of how four and a half months of the world’s longest lockdown has been miserably mishandled, says our resident expert. BY BENJAMIN CO MD
ANCX | Jul 30 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. 

--

[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 was a major shocker. After all, you can’t be hiding the numbers. They needed to announce it sooner or later. And it’s always a thriller that just before the government is set to announce any policy shift in quarantine – the numbers are always up. Today, the Health Agency announced 3,954 new cases. Our record high. Bringing the total number to 89,734. 

We are now number 26 in the world overtaking Kazahkstan overnight. 

National Capital Region (NCR) contributed to 43 percent of the total number of cases today with 1,703 cases. The other provinces that were among the top five included Cebu (958), Laguna (177), Rizal (90), and Cavite (87). These provinces/region alone accounted for 76.3 percent (3,015) of total cases today.

The number of active cases suddenly dropped to 22,327 as we see a huge surge in recoveries of 38,075 reported in a single day, pushing the recovery rate up to 73 percent. 

There were 23 reported deaths, bringing the fatality rate to 2.2 percent. 

Of the 23 deaths today, 12 were from NCR, eight from Central Visayas, one from Central Luzon and one from Region IV-A. There was also one death with no tagged location. (Seriously, I don’t even know how you can say one died with no location. It’s in the death certificate.) 

Of the 23 deaths, 19 occurred in July, three in June, and one in April. 

Sixty-six cases were removed from the total case count.

Data for July 29, 2020 (reported on July 30) show there are 95 accredited testing sites (72 RT-PCR and 23 GeneXpert laboratories) in the country. How many are functional is a totally different question altogether as the number of testing facilities submitting reports on time is a work in progress. 

The Philippines has tested close to approximately 1.25 percent of the total population as it registers 1,361,775 individual tests done. (How many are repeat tests from previous positive patients or new confirmed cases is not indicated.)

We will break down the almost 4,000 cases tomorrow. And it will be interesting to see what the Data Drop will reveal. With this number of new confirmed cases, I wonder if the “unknowns” will be a large contribution to tomorrows analysis.

 

The data yesterday

As of July 28, 2020, 1,422,384 samples have been processed to date. As of publication, 2,855 positive patients of 22,172 individuals tested from an 83 percent submission rate (73 or 88 testing labs) were reported. This meant a 12.9 percent daily positive rate for the day. The Philippines saw its lowest daily positive rate of 3.6 percent last May 16, 2020 or two months after the enhanced community quarantine. 

The question is where and when are the number of positives from testing being accounted for? Because lumping them in one go (like today), is not sound data reconciliation.

Comparing the testing capacity results of NCR and Region VII, notice that the percentage of laboratories reporting for NCR are fewer than Region VII. Yet the total of positive individuals in NCR comprise 76 percent of the total positives in the country tested that day. Region VII makes up only 6.5 percent of the total contribution to the pool of positive subjects. The remaining 17.5 percent is distributed to the other remaining regions and repatriates. 

The enormous contribution of positive cases in NCR should be the main target of concern on how to address the ballooning positivity here.

Of the 1,874 new confirmed cases yesterday 728 cases (38.8 percent) of the total were from NCR. Among the top five with tagged locations, Region VII was second with 331 cases, followed by Region IV-a with 248, Region VI with 137, and Region III with 27 cases. 

As in the previous days, there was quite a sizable number of individuals with no tagged region—269 to be exact—making up 14.35 percent of the unknowns. 

The top regions in terms of total number of cases are NCR (46,687), Central Visayas (13,782), Calabarzon (7,661), Central Luzon (2,064), Davao (1,158). Those with no tagged region now number 5,627. There were 24 repatriates included in the statistical data yesterday bringing the total number of positive repatriates to 3,101. 

All regions had at least one case reported.

 

The unknowns

Of the 1,874 cases yesterday, 496 (26.5 percent) had “unknown” location from various levels. From a regional level, 269 had no known region. On a provincial level, nine had no known province (all from Calabarzon). On a municipality or city level, 218 had no tagged location: 212 from NCR, and one each from Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, Cebu, and Tarlac. 

After August 1, as the government allows more businesses to resume in order to jump start the economy, we can only hope that these cumbersome “unknown” are resolved. Otherwise, the wisdom of this decision may not eventually pay off without a clear exit plan.

 

The known

Of the identified cases in NCR, the following cities had 40 or more cases: Quezon City (103), Manila (81), Makati (50), and Caloocan (41).

Other cities with double digit cases but less than 40 were Mandaluyong (33), Muntinlupa (31), Las Piñas (30), Pasay (29), Taguig (25), Pasig (22), Parañaque (20), Valenzuela (14), Navotas (13), Marikina (11), and Malabon (10). 

San Juan had three cases, and no case was reported in Pateros. 

More than 29 percent (212) of the reported cases in NCR yesterday had no tagged locations.

Among the other top regions outside of NCR, the following provinces in those regions had the highest cases: Cebu with 325 in Region VII, Laguna with 130 in Region IV-A, Iloilo with 67 in Region VI, and Bulacan with 16 in Region III.

Of the 331 cases from Central Visayas, 140 were from Cebu City. The other cities/municipalities with double digits were Lapu-Lapu (56), Mandaue (45), Compostela (15), Consolacion (13), Danao City (11), and Talisay (10). Eighteen other cities/municipalities reported single digits and there was one case with unknown locality.

Calabarzon had a total of 248 cases in 41 cities/municipalities in the region. Santa Rosa continues to bring in the most cases with 54 reported followed by Biñan (28), Antipolo (16), Calamba (15), Cainta and San Pedro (14 each), and Cabuyao (12). There were 13 with no tagged location. The rest reported single digits.

Region VI had 55 cities/municipalities with reported cases. Bacolod City had 16 and Iloilo City had 11. The rest reported single digit cases.

Region III rounds up the top five with all cities/municipalities reporting single digits. In spite of the very few cases, there was still one individual with no tagged location.

As of yesterday, the seven-day average for cases and deaths in the Philippines is at 1,890 new cases/day and 16 deaths/day, respectively.

 

The World

The world has a record high of more than 288,000 cases yesterday. Pushing the seven-day average to more than 255,000 new cases/day. Total deaths also exceeded 6,500 cases bringing the seven-day average to 6,222 deaths/day.

The global case fatality rate is lower at 3.9 percent and recoveries remain at 62.3 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 closes in to 4.6 million total cases with 66,921 new cases reported yesterday. 

The top three states with new cases yesterday were California (+10,609), Florida (+9,446), and Texas (+9,217). 

Brazil reported the most number of cases in the world yesterday, superseding the number of cases the US reported to bring their total to 2,555,518. 

India reported 52,249 cases overnight to bring their total close to 1.6 million. 

Brazil reported the highest number of deaths in the world with 1,554.

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

  • Brazil – 70,869
  • USA – 66,921
  • India – 52,249
  • South Africa – 11,362
  • Colombia – 8,670
  • Mexico – 7,208
  • Peru – 5,678
  • Argentina – 5,641
  • Russia – 5,475
  • Bangladesh – 3,009

The Philippines was number 16 among countries with the most number of cases reported in the world yesterday with 1,874 new cases. Indonesia was number 13 with 2,381 cases. 

Today’s numbers are record highs both globally and in the Philippines. The escalating cases are worrisome because they we need to consider the untested population who present with mild symptoms or are asymptomatic/presymptomatic so we can project the actual threat from the data we are getting. 

It looks like we’re going for 90,000 end of the month. And it looks like every man for himself at this point. A very sad story of how four and a half months of the world’s longest lockdown has been miserably mishandled.