Our daily positivity rate now fluctuates at around 5.5 percent. Aerial view of Manila by Fung360 on Wikimedia Commons
Culture Spotlight

Remember when NCR doctors asked for a return to MECQ in August? We are now reaping the rewards

Meanwhile, Davao reports the most number of cases for the day.
BENJAMIN CO, MD | Nov 19 2020

Disclosure: All data provided are from the Department of Health’s various information sites including their data drop. Where appropriate, other graphs, illustrations, tables and data are appropriately referenced. 


November 19, 2020 (updated)

Today, the Philippines reports a total of 1,337 new cases. Davao City, which has recently announced stricter safety measures (both in the city and its borders) to control its rising Covid numbers, is back on the leader board with the most cases for the day. 

There were 41 new deaths reported as well.

Yesterday’s data breakdown

THE PHILIPPINES

  • With lesser cases yesterday, NCR was back on the leader board, with only 12 cases separating Mega Manila and CALABARZON.
  • Four of five provinces in the CALABARZON ranked 1st to 4th among provinces outside the NCR with most cases. Benguet came in fifth.
  • Quezon City, Manila and Makati were the top contributors to the pool of cases according to cities/municipalities. 
  • Ten of 17 cities in Metro Manila were in the top 20.

THE WORLD

With more than 525,000 new cases yesterday and almost 10,000 new deaths, the world now has more than 56,000,000 cases and closes in to the next million mark.

The United States continued to lead globally with numbers above 170,000 new cases—and close to 2,000 new deaths—yesterday, pushing their total to close to 12 million cases. 

Because there are now 11 countries with more than 1 million cases each, instead of posting the top ten, the countries with more than one million cases will be announced daily. 

France and Russia officially cross the two million mark.

  • Global case fatality rate is seeing an average decline of 0.135% daily: 2.39 percent
  • Five European nations were among the top ten contributors to the pool of new cases yesterday – Italy, France, Germany, Poland and the UK.

Feature Story

Are the cases really slowing down in Mega Manila? 

Unbelievable.

That was what some of the readers said about cases in the National Capital Region. 

Of course there will always be skeptics regarding how well Mega Manila has managed to bring down the number of positive cases for coronavirus. 

But it’s not just about announcing the daily tally that this blog mentions. I purposely began deleting some information with the objective of having to browse through all that data in less than 120 seconds (a 2 minute read). 

Are the cases really lower in the National Capital Region?

Home to more than 13 million people (based on an unpredictable census), this region with the most dense population in the Philippines that sits on a little more than 660 sq km of land, comes in as the 15th most dense city in the world. 

In the months of July and August, Mega Manila was seeing cases over 3,000 to 4,000 per day, making the health professionals holler for a time-out and make the inhabitants of the central capital of economy and industry in the country trade-in reopening the economy with settling for a stricter lockdown. With so many cases and deaths, a recalibration on how the LGUs were addressing the pandemic was needed. 

The decline in cases was not overnight and it took (and will take) quite awhile to see it settle back to less than 200 cases/day as the government and business sector insists on reopening the economy – a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. 

For now, these efforts are paying off. 

In the graph below are the latest numbers for the Philippines. Notice that we have been trending less than 10 percent in daily positivity rate since the first week of September and while we may not be testing 50,000 people a day, we really don’t need to considering that the daily positivity rate now fluctuates at around 5.5 percent. 

Only selected regions where there are significantly higher number of cases will need to have more testing done.

The story is actually much better in the National Capital Region. For the last month, it has seen a decline in cases with Rt = 0.76. From the graph below, notice how much fewer the positive cases (in red) are compared the past months. Of close to 12,000 tested individuals, only 465 were positive (from 56 of 67 testing centers), giving a daily positive rate of 3.9 percent – much lower than the national average. 

The battle is far from over as the pandemic has shifted outside of Mega Manila. With the holiday season just around the corner, one should not underestimate ability of the virus in the midst of a pandemic to wipe out any and all gains made over the last few weeks. 

This goal is achievable. But sacrificing some celebrations at a time when merry is the central theme is the only solution at averting a potential second wave.