The Health Agency reports 3,550 newly confirmed cases today. Photo by George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Culture Spotlight

With today’s newly announced COVID cases, the PH crosses the 270,000 mark

Seven months into the pandemic, we are still recording backlogs for the National Capital Region. The question is – why? 
BENJAMIN CO, MD | Sep 16 2020

[Disclaimer: Whatever is written here is based on information released by the Department of Health at the time of publication. Whatever changes the 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.”]

The Health Agency reports 3,550 newly confirmed cases today (2,984 or 84 percent happening from September 3-16, 2020) based on Date of Onset of Illness.

With today’s newly announced cases, the Philippines crosses the 270,000 mark.

With only 524 recoveries our active cases are up at 60,344, of which 3.9 percent or 2,354 cases are either severe or critically ill.

NCR is back on top as the DoH reports less “unknowns” on a regional level today. From a 33.4 percent yesterday to less than 5 percent of the total reported today with no tagged location.

Evidently, the backlogs all the way back to March are way too challenging for the agency because 7 months into the pandemic, we are still recording backlogs for the National Capital Region. The question is – why? 

During the start of the pandemic in the month of March, we simply had a handful of testing facilities. One cannot blame the current testing facilities for all these backlogs because they were still inexistent at that time. Which leaves us with the question – why is there still information coming in from all the way back in March, April, May and June? Is it a validation problem from the Health Agency or is it a reporting issue from the handful of laboratories during the beginning of the pandemic in the country?

On a national level, 15 percent of the data today were from the months of July to September 2020.

Based on the data today, the top contributors to the pool of coronavirus cases belong to Luzon. Mega Manila alone accounts for a little over 40 percent of the slice. Region VIII is now fifth among the top five.

Summary of the recoveries and fatalities today

  • Recoveries: 524 reported today, recovery rate 76.2 percent (down)
  • Fatalities: 69 reported today, case fatality rate 1.73 percent (unchanged)
  • NCR reported 24 total deaths followed by CALABARZON with 19.
  • 34 of 69 (49 percent) of the deaths occurred in September while the remaining 51 percent were from April to August.
  • 9 cases were previously tagged as recoveries but on further validation were removed from the list.

Now with 126 testing facilities, the DoH reports 3,008,239 individuals tested as of September 15, 2020. Around 2.76 percent of the total population have been tested for SARS-COV2.


Testing capacity

  • 2,978,859 individuals tested (~ 2.73 percent of total population) as of September 14, 2020
  • September 14, 2020: 2,480 positives from 25,731 individuals tested.
  • Reports from: 98 of 114 testing laboratories (86 percent submission rate)
  • Of the 2480 positives on September 14, 2020, 62 percent (1,538) were reported from 38 of 42 testing facilities in NCR.
  • Daily positive rate for September 14, 2020: 9.6 percent (down).
  • For NCR the daily positive rate for September 14, 2020 is 9.8 percent.
  • Cumulative positive rate for September 14, 2020: 10.6 percent (unchanged)

The summary

  • Total number of confirmed cases: 269,407 (as of September 15, 2020)
  • Total cases yesterday (September 15, 2020): 3,544 newly reported (3,177 recent or 89.6 percent from September 2-15, 2020)
  • Region with highest number of cases for September 15, 2020: Region IVA with 761 cases (592 recent).
  • Top regions (with more than 100 cases) for September 14, 2020: Region IVA, NCR, VI and III.
  • Regions with single digit report: CAR, and CARAGA
  • Repatriates: 6 new cases (Total: 11,058 as of September 15, 2020).
  • Unidentified on a regional level: 1,060cases!!! (33.4 percent of the total cases)

The unknowns (Cases with NO TAGGED LOCATIONS)

Total unknowns: 1,260 (36 percent up from 31.5 percent the day before).

  • Regional level: 1060
  • Provincial level: 63 (57 from CALABARZON, 4 from MIMAROPA, 1 each from Zamboanga Peninsula and Davao Region)
  • City/Municipality level: 167 (61 from Cavite, 34 from NCR, 20 from Negros Occidental, 20 from Zambales and the rest from other provinces in the country)

The known (Top 5 Regions)

  • Region IVA for the first time topped the number of cases (most likely due to the deluge of unknowns reported from a regional level): 761 newly announced (592 or 78 percent recent).
  • Cavite led with 305 cases, followed by Rizal with 201.
  • There were 57 unknown on a provincial level.
  • On a city/municipality level, there were 68 individuals with no tagged location.
  • Of those that were known, Antipolo had the most cases (56) followed by the cities of Bacoor, Imus and Dasmariñas.
  • NCR came in second yesterday: 690 newly announced cases (564 cases or 82 percent recent)
  • More than 100 cases: Quezon City
  • 50-100 cases: Manila, Valenzuela, Parañaque
  • 10 to less than 50 cases: Pasay, Caloocan, Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, and Navotas
  • Less than 10 cases: Malabon, San Juan and Pateros
  • Untagged location at city/municipality level: 34 (4.9 percent)
  • Region VI was in third with 291 cases (276 or 95 percent recent)
  • Negros Occidental registered 173 cases followed by Iloilo with 78
  • Bacolod City had the most cases – 77 of the 173 from Negros Occidental (44.5 percent of total in the province)
  • Iloilo City had the second highest cases – 55 of the 78 from the province of Iloilo (71 percent).
  • 22 cases had no tagged location on a city/municipality level.
  • Region III was fourth: 281 (261 cases or 93 percent recent)
  • The province of Bulacan is back on top with 98 cases (35 percent of the region’s total) followed by Bataan with 66 cases (23.5 percent).
  • On a city/municipality level, however, the municipality of Mariveles leads with 36 cases from the province of Bataan.
  • No tagged location: 23 cases on a city/municipality level (20 from Zambales, 2 from Nueva Ecija and 1 from Bataan).
  • Central Visayas was in fifth for the third straight day but continued to have less than 100 cases
  • The province of Cebu owned 83 of the 97 (86 percent) cases
  • Cebu City reported the highest number on a city/municipality level with 28 cases.
  • 7-day average of new cases as of September 15, 2020: 3,920 cases/day (higher)
  • 7-day average of new deaths as of September 15, 2020: 107 deaths/day (higher)


  • Global case fatality rate: 3.17 percent (lower)
  • Global recovery rate: 72.2 percent (higher)

More than 280,000 new cases were added yesterday, pushing up the global 7-day average to close to 285,000 cases/day.

The total global deaths were up with 6,540 new deaths posted, bringing the 7-day death average to 5,359 deaths/day.

The United States continues to lead with almost 6.8 million cases. However, both the United States and Brazil have begun to see a larger decline in total number of cases over the past two weeks.

India’s story on the other hand is different as it continues to dominate the global numbers with more than 90,000 cases again. It officially has crossed the 5 million mark. Yesterday, it also led in over-all deaths in the world with 1,283 newly announced deaths.

Brazil remains in third place but has seen considerable slowing down of the number of new cases and new deaths.

  • India continues to top the list with more than 90,000 new cases.
  • Two European nations – Spain and France – are seeing huge increases in new cases as they ride their second wave.
  • India continued to account for the most number of deaths in the previous day.
  • Three countries reported four digits in fatalities – India, USA and Brazil.

With 3,550 new cases today, we’re within less than 17,000 cases away from Italy that is in 20th spot in the global census for coronavirus. 

And the increase in cases over the past week has shown that keeping the reproduction number below 1 cannot be sustained for a continuous two week period in the Philippines.

We’re evidently taking a U turn as we reopen the economy.