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.”]
Of course, we were in the top 10 contributors to the pool of new confirmed cases yesterday. In fact, we were number 9.
Today, with 4,339 new confirmed cases from 100 of 109 laboratories, our total cases to date are at 178,022. We should cross the 180,000 mark by tomorrow and with a seven-day average of over 4,300 cases/day, and we should easily pass the 200,000 mark by month end.
Of the 4,339 cases today, 74 percent were from the top five: NCR (without a doubt), Laguna, Cavite, Cebu, and Rizal. But the latter four were not the biggest contributors after Mega Manila. It was the repatriates. The Health Agency reports 472 repatriates as new confirmed coronavirus cases today (442 of them were from August 7 to August 20 alone, while the remaining 30 were backlog data).
Including today’s data, there are now more than 8,000 repatriates that have tested positive for the coronavirus. As of end of July, the Department of Foreign Affairs has reported 102,519 Overseas Filipino Workers that have been repatriated. Close to 44,000 are sea-based while close to 58,000 are land-based. This means that, to date, 7.3 percent of repatriates tested positive for COVID.
The number of active cases are up at 61,025 (34.3 percent of the total) with 727 recoveries reported. The number of severe and critically ill are at 2.1 percent. (That’s 1,280 cases whether admitted in a health care facility or not.)
Ninety-one cases were removed from the total with no reason provided.
Based on “date of onset of illness” of the 4,339 cases today, 3,213 were between August 7 to 20 (74 percent).
One-fourth of today’s cases were backlogs, with the bulk coming from July (559) and August 1 to 6 (479). Note that five months into the pandemic in the country, DoH still continues to report backlogs all the way back to March.
NCR and Region IVA continue to account for the larger share of the backlog.
Removing the backlogs would put NCR at 1,737 cases and Region IVA with 462 for the week of August 7 to August 20.
Regions that report three digits today: Central Luzon (208), Central Visayas (135), and Region VI (107).
“Of the 4,336 cases reported today, 3,336 (77 percent) do not have information on date of onset of illness, 311 do not have information on date of specimen collection, while 280 do not have information on both.” (Yet DoH insists on using the Date of Onset of Illness for reporting for a reason that will need a rational explanation.)
“In cases where date of onset of illness is missing, the date of specimen collection (minus three days) was used as proxy. In cases where both date of onset of illness and date of specimen collection are missing, the report date (minus nine days) were used as proxy.”
There were 727 recoveries (with 43 cases being removed from the recoveries) bringing down the recovery rate from 64.9 percent yesterday to 64.1 percent today. Our recovery rate is now lower than the global recovery rate (again). And we probably will see this trend in recoveries until there is another clean-up drive.
There were 88 reported deaths: 42 from Region VII, 34 from NCR, 5 from Region VI, 4 from Region IVA, and one apiece from Region I, IX and CAR.
Of the 88 deaths, 40 (a little more less than half) occurred in August, 27 in July, 19 in June, and two in May. As expected, the death reports come one to two months after the event because they occur in more serious hospitalized patients whose critical state prolongs their course of illness in the hope of achieving a favorable outcome.
This now brings our case fatality rate up at 1.62 percent (from 1.61 percent yesterday).
Incidentally, 51 cases which were previously tagged as recoveries were removed from the list of recoveries and are reported under the death table—which I presume were patients who were initially tagged as recovered but were actually casualties.
Testing data for August 19, reported on August 20 shows 109 licensed testing facilities (82 RT-PCR and 27 GeneXpert) in the country. So far, we have now tested more than two million individuals (1.87 percent of the population) since the start of the pandemic.
Our cumulative positivity rate remains at 10.4 percent, which means that we’re still not testing enough. And there are more cases out there left undetected.
The data yesterday
As of August 18, 2020, the Philippines has officially tested more than two million individuals (2,023,255 to be exact). Total individuals tested on August 18 was 26,245 with 3,052 positives from 94 out of 104 laboratories (90 percent submission rate). The daily positivity rate is lower at 11.6 percent with a cumulative positivity rate of 10.4 percent.
NCR will most likely pass the 100,000 mark in total cases today with 3,092 out of the 4,650 cases yesterday, which brought its total cases to 97,892.
Only three other regions reported triple digits: Region IV-A (739), Region III (167), and Region VI (164).
There were 87 cases from repatriates brining their total cases to 7,506. The repatriates are the fourth biggest contributors to the pool of cases of coronavirus in the country.
In spite of the large haul yesterday, there were four regions that reported single digits: Region II, Region IV-B, Caraga, and BARMM.
There were thirty-six cases with no tagged location on a regional level.
The top five regions for August 19, 2020 were NCR, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas.
There were 160 unknowns (3.44 percent) with no tagged location on various levels with 36 having no known region, with the remaining having no tagged locations at the municipality/city level. NCR had the most individuals with untagged location with 98.
Over two-thirds of cases were from NCR alone with 98 (3.2 percent) having no tagged location.
Ten cities reported triple digits with Quezon City reporting 718 cases followed by Manila with 589. Other cities with more than 200 cases include Caloocan and Taguig.
The rest of the cities with more than 100 but fewer than 200 cases were Pasig, Valenzuela, Makati, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, and Marikina.
Cities with double digits and more than 50 cases were Las Piñas, Parañaque, Pasay, Malabon, and San Juan.
Two cities had less than 50 cases: Navotas and Pateros.
Among the remaining four top regions, the following provinces had the highest cases in the respective region: Cavite with 249 cases for Region IVA, Bulacan with 136 cases for Region III, Negros Occidental with 86 cases for Region VI, and Western Samar with 57 cases for Region VIII.
Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Batangas in Region IVA contribute to 98 percent of the cases in the Calabarzon area.
Twenty-two cities/municipalities reported double digits. Antipolo and Imus reported more than 50 cases.
Sixty-one cities/municipalities had single digit cases.
There were 24 cases with no tagged location on a city/municipality level.
Region III had 167 cases, with 136 of these (81 percent) coming from Bulacan alone.
Three cities reported double digits, all of which were in Bulacan: San Jose del Monte, Malolos, and Meycauayan.
Thirty six cities/municipalities in Central Luzon reported single digit cases, down from a previous day of 58 municipalities/cities with single digit report.
Region VI remains in fourth with Negros Occidental and Iloilo reporting a total of 147 cases (90 percent) of the cases in Western Visayas.
This cities of Bacolod (59) and Iloilo (30) accounted for the highest number of cases on a city/municipality level. There were two individuals with no tagged location at this level of reporting.
Region VIII in fifth place surprisingly, with Western Samar and Leyte accounting for 95 percent of the total cases in the region for yesterday.
Catbalogan, Villareal, and Tacloban reported the most number of cases on a city/municipality level.
The seven-day average for cases yesterday was at 4,322/day with seven-day average for deaths up at 56/day.
The world has now more than 22.6 million of confirmed coronavirus cases with over 260,000 reported yesterday. There was a miscount in the global deaths and acknowledged by the New York Times. There were 6,303 deaths on August 18, 2020 and not 1,293 as initially tallied. Yesterday, August 19, 2020, there were 6,606 new deaths.
The global case fatality rate stays at 3.5 percent and recoveries at 67.8 percent. [Recovery rates are not very reliable indicators because they are subjective based on the country’s definition of how and when they consider patients “recovered.” There are some countries also that do not count recoveries like the U.K and Denmark. Death rates on the other hand, while more definitive of outcomes take a longer time to report and validate.]
Data from WorldOMeters.info.
The United States surpasses the 5.7 million cases with California, Texas, and Florida as the top three contributors yesterday. America also reported the highest number of deaths in a day yesterday.
Brazil remains in second with close the 3.5 million cases, but has been seeing a slight downward trend from new daily confirmed cases in the past week with a seven-day average of around 45,000 cases/day.
India remains in third spot globally, but continues to have the highest number of new confirmed daily cases. Yesterday, it reported close to 70,000 cases.
Top 10 countries contributing to the pool of coronavirus cases for August 19, 2020 were:
While the Philippines came in ninth for new confirmed cases yesterday, it tails Iraq in the total overall rankings. It is in 22 while Iraq in 21. Among the top 10 countries, the Philippines has the lowest number of cases per million population as of yesterday.
And the top 10 countries with highest deaths reported for August 19, 2020 were:
The top 10 data (cases and deaths) above provide information on the unpredictability of the behavior of this virus. Spain, for example was one of the European countries that showed significant gains after a lockdown. The country reported zero deaths for a while and only 100 to 200 cases for more than two months. However, easing the economy is undoubtedly the main driver in resurgence of cases. The second wave hitting Spain and several other countries like France and Italy have made significant gains in the past months are now besieged with having to deal with the same problem all over again.
But the problem isn’t being seen in Europe alone.
In many parts of Asia that have seen significant gains, social behavior will always be the harbinger of resurgences. Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong are countries that had victoriously dealt with rising cases. As the economy takes the front seat, complacency becomes our most formidable enemy.
The struggle is real. While it is understandable that we keep going back to the concept of “work hard, play hard” for a semblance of normalcy, it’s unfortunately too premature to get out of this situation yet.
The good news, however, is that science, technology, and other researches are making unprecedented gigantic strides at finding solutions to the pandemic. But the answers will not be ready overnight. And while that’s the downside, there is hope. Because only if we do this together, will we beat this virus from transmitting to a host in order for it to survive.