[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.”]
It’s been 9 months since the first recorded case of COVID-19 was announced in the Philippines. There are 10 days left in September before the third quarter finally comes to an end. How the pandemic will eventually evolve in the last quarter is anyone’s guess.
The last quarter of the year is a crucial one – highly dependent on how the third quarter ends and how the first month of the last quarter begins. The most brisk economic activity falls during these months with many sectors waiting for bonuses and the “extra” 13th month pay in the Philippines (if any is left).
With ten days left to the month, the last quarter is like the “last two minutes” in a basketball game. It’s make or break as the world approaches the upcoming holiday season at a time of a pandemic.
The virus SARS-CoV-2 has proven to be a formidable one. Those that pooh-poohed it from the beginning are learning how this daunting enemy has snapped the very fiber of the global economy.
Yet there is no doubt that human resilience will prevail. And we will win this war. The only question is – WHEN.
The Health Agency reports 3,311 newly announced cases (2,774 recent or 83.8 percent of the total) today, bringing the total cases of the Philippines to 286,743.
Active cases are down to 51,894, of which 4.7 percent or 2,440 cases (down from 2,472 yesterday) are either severe or critically ill. [As to whether how many are hospitalized or are at home is not indicated.]
NCR continues to top all the regions in the Philippines with 1,435 total cases (1,182 or 82.4 percent recent).
Mega Manila accounted for 43.4 percent of the cases today. In the top five are: Negros Occidental (Region VI), and three provinces in Region IVA – Laguna, Rizal and Cavite.
There were only 2 unknowns (individuals with no tagged location) on a regional level. Both these unknowns, ironically, were cases in June and August. If they’re still unknowns from way back, have they recovered or died?
Top five regions for the day: NCR, Regions IVA, III, VI and VIII.
Summary of the recoveries and fatalities today
- Recoveries: 20,021 reported today (the weekend haul), recovery rate 80.2 percent (up)
- Fatalities: 55 reported today, case fatality rate 1.74 percent (unchanged)
- NCR reported 29 total deaths (53 percent) followed by Central Visayas with 6 and Western Visayas with 5 deaths.
- 33 of the 55 deaths occurred in September (60 percent). The rest of the deaths occurred in July and August.
- One case was removed from the list of COVID-19 patients and deaths.
- 28 cases were previously tagged as recoveries but were removed from the list after further validation.
With 128 testing facilities, the DoH reports 3,164,830 individuals tested as of September 19, 2020. Around 2.87 percent of the total population (approximately 30,300 per million population) have been tested for SARS-COV2.
THE DATA YESTERDAY
- 3,135,266 individuals tested (~ 2.85 percent of total population) as of September 18, 2020
- September 18, 2020: 3,200 positives from 33,742 individuals tested.
- Reports from: 100 of 120 testing laboratories (83 percent submission rate)
- Of the 3,200 positives on September 18, 2020, 56 percent (1,796) were reported from 38 of 45 testing facilities in NCR.
- Daily positive rate for September 18, 2020 nationally: 9.5 percent (up).
- For NCR the daily positive rate for September 18, 2020 was 10.3 percent (up) (cumulative positive rate for NCR unchanged at 12.2 percent).
- Cumulative positive rate for September 18, 2020 nationally: 10.5 percent (unchanged)
The summary (as of September 19, 2020)
- Total number of confirmed cases: 283,460
- Total cases: 3,962 newly reported (3,286 recent or 83 percent from September 6-19, 2020)
- Region with highest number of cases: NCR – 1,440 total (1,199 recent)
- Top regions (with more than 100 cases): NCR, Regions IVA, III, VI, and VII.
- Regions with single digit report: None
- Repatriates: 11 new cases (Total: 11,499).
- Unidentified on a regional level: 112 cases. (Total unknowns [regional]: 5,388)
The unknowns (Cases with NO TAGGED LOCATIONS)
Total unknowns: 140 (3.5 percent down from 19.4 percent the day before).
- Regional level: 112
- Provincial level: 2 (both cases from CALABARZON)
- City/Municipality level: 26 (9 from Cavite, 4 from NCR and the rest from other provinces in the country)
The known (Top 5 Regions)
- NCR is on top position with 1,440 total cases (1,199 recent or 83 percent).
- Cities with more than 100 cases: Quezon City, Manila and Makati
- Cities with 50 to less than 100 cases: Parañaque, Caloocan, Taguig, Valenzuela, Marikina, Pasig, Las Piñas, Pasay, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, and Malabon
- Cities with 10 or more but less than 50 cases: Navotas and San Juan
- Cities with single digit cases: Pateros
- Cities with ZERO cases: none
- Total with no tagged location on a city level: 4 cases
Top four regions outside of NCR were:
- Cavite (for Region IVA)
- Bulacan (for Region III)
- Negros Occidental (for Region VI)
- Cebu (for Region VII)
- Region IVA was in second with 963 total cases (780 recent or 81 percent).
- Four provinces in the region recorded more than 200 cases each – Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal.
- Antipolo (in Rizal) led on a city/municipality level.
- No tagged locations: 2 on a provincial level, 14 on a city/municipality level (9 Cavite, 3 Batangas, 1 Rizal, 1 Laguna)
- The region had 98 known cities/municipalities with at least ONE case – the highest in the country.
- Central Luzon was third with 587 cases (446 recent or 76 percent).
- The province of Bulacan continued to lead with 354 total cases followed by Pampanga with 106.
- Guiguinto (in Bulacan) had the highest cases on a city/municipality level
- Western Visayas was in fourth with 265 total cases (233 recent or 88 percent)
- Negros Occidental owned 120 of the total cases (45 percent) while Iloilo reported 103 (39 percent)
- Both Iloilo City and Bacolod City reported 78 cases each – topping the cases on a city/municipality level.
- There was one case untagged on a city/municipality level in the province of Negros Occidental.
- Central Visayas came in fifth with 174 cases (163 recent or 94 percent)
- The province of Cebu had the most cases – 156 (90 percent of total).
- The City of Cebu owned 38 of the 156 cases in the province (24 percent).
- 7-day average of new cases as of September 19, 2020: 3,657 cases/day (lower)
- 7-day average of new deaths as of September 19, 2020: 91 deaths/day (lower)
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
- We were not able to sustain the parameters of decline in cases and deaths (it increased this week) and a reproduction number (Rt) staying less than 1. It was 1.15 as of September 17.
- The doubling time and 7-day growth rate remained unchanged
- There are now 2,650 people per million population infected with coronavirus
- There is a shift in fatality rate with the 20-39 years old age group increasing significantly from 5 percent last week to 7.1 percent this week.
- The graph below showing the whole timeline of the Philippines since the beginning of the pandemic shows that we took a U-turn last week in the number of daily new confirmed cases. The “backlogs” accounted for 15-20 percent of the daily announced cases.
- Note the change in the color of the curve and the daily positivity rate of cases. This simply means that in spite of testing more than 30,000 to 40,000 daily, we’re still not testing enough. Why is that? Because we’re still teetering on the 10 percent mark. There are still more cases that we have not identified in spite of the increase in testing capacity. We will need to test 50,000 to 70,000 patients daily in order to trace the positives, isolate them and bring down the cases eventually.
- The total number of tests done has plateaued around thirty to forty thousand this week. This in spite of the more than 120 testing facilities the country now boasts.
- Comparing the Philippines and some selected countries in AustralAsia region, notice that our data trend similarly as Indonesia’s. We have not made significant gains at addressing the control of the pandemic, particularly in Luzon – NCR, Region IVA and Region III. These three regions alone contribute to 75 percent of the cases in the country. These three regions are also the economic hub of the nation.
- Measures on control of the pandemic should be tailored to these three regions when considering reopening the economy. It cannot be a one-size fits all status.
- Global case fatality rate: 3.13 percent
- Global recovery rate: 72.6 percent
The world closed to 300,000 cases yesterday. Enough to push the total number of cases past the 31,000,000 mark.
The total global deaths were slightly lower with 5,239 new deaths posted, bringing the 7-day death average to 5,256 deaths/day.
The United States continues to lead with close to 7 million cases, which they most likely will breach tomorrow.
India’s story on the other hand is different as it continues to dominate the global numbers with new cases hovering above 90,000/day. With a 7-day moving average of 94,000 cases/day, India will most likely cross the next million mark in more or less 7 days.
Brazil remains in third place but has seen significant lower number of new cases and new deaths.
- India continues to top the list with 92,755 cases.
- France continues its rising number of cases with 13,498 cases overnight. Israel is back in the top ten with 4,531 cases.
- India reported the most deaths at 1,149 yesterday.
- Both Indonesia and the Philippines landed in the top ten of global deaths at ninth and tenth place, respectively.
While we choose to remain optimistic at how the pandemic is panning out, we need to stay focused on reality.
The reality is that with the current data, we are not showing improving numbers – both in the Philippines and the rest of the world. There are gains made by some nations, while other countries are seeing resurgences.
While it would be best to announce better news – drugs and biologics in the discovery phase and clinical trials being done at “warp speed” – the solution out there is not yet concrete. In reality, it is, at best – hopeful.
Accepting the reality that this pandemic will take awhile to abate is crucial in coping with the anxiety and stress it carries. Only by facing and working against these odds, will be be victorious in the end.