The City of Manila reported 68 cases today. Photo by Angelyn Marquez on Wikimedia Commons
Culture

With a combined 151 cases, NCR's QC and Manila are two of today's biggest contributors to Covid pool

There are 1,383 newly confirmed cases today. 
BENJAMIN CO, MD | Dec 10 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. 


December 10, 2020 (updated)

There are 1,383 newly confirmed cases today. Two cities in NCR are among the top five – Quezon City and the City of Manila. The DoH also reports 24 new deaths.

Yesterday’s data breakdown

THE PHILIPPINES

  • With 1,387 new cases the other day, Mega Manila continues to be the epicenter of Covid in the country, contributing more than 26% of the cases yesterday (up by 2% from the other day). 
  • Three other regions reported triple digits: CALABARZON, Central Luzon and Davao Region.
  • Outside of NCR, the Health Agency reported that Batangas had the most cases. It turns out the province of Benguet had the most cases, followed by Batangas. Baguio City is within the province of Benguet and Baguio's data should be counted as part of Benguet on a provincial level.
  • Four provinces in CALABARZON continued to contribute to the haul of the cases in the region – Batangas, Quezon, Rizal and Laguna.
  • The new entrant among the top ten provinces was Davao del Norte.
  • Eight of 17 cities from Mega Manila were among the top twenty cities/municipalities with most cases. 
  • Top three cities with the most cases yesterday were all from NCR. 
  • New entrants to the top twenty cities/municipalities were: Mauban in Quezon and Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur. Prosperidad is a first class municipality and the capital of Agusan del Sur. With a population of more than 82,000 (as of census of 2015), the town has a density of 160 inhabitants/sq km.

THE WORLD

With more than 664,000,000 new cases, the world crosses the 69,000,000 mark in Covid case count since the start of the pandemic. 

The United States continues to lead globally in both new cases and new deaths as they come close to the 16,000,000 mark. The US alone contributes 22.8 percent in cases and 18.8% in deaths to COVID19 globally. 

There are now 14 countries with more than 1 million cases each.

  • Global case fatality rate: 2.28 percent (remain unchanged). 
  • Six European nations were among the top ten contributors to the pool of new cases yesterday – Turkey, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Ukraine.

Feature Story

SWEDEN

We feature Sweden in today’s story as this is the only country that dealt with the pandemic in an unconventional way. 

It was their chief epidemiologist for the Swedish public health authority, Anders Tegnell, who on April 5, 2020 emailed the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) expressing concern over the advice on wearing face masks in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Tegnell disagreed with the advice and said that it was “dangerous to believe that masks are a silver bullet”. 

The approach of Sweden to the coronavirus pandemic is out of step with much of the world. The government never ordered a ‘shutdown’ and kept day care centers and primary schools open. 

Sweden adopted strikingly different policies from those of other European countries, out of a desire to avoid disrupting daily life – and perhaps the hope that, by paying an immediate price in illness, the county could achieve “herd immunity” and put the pandemic behind it. 

Instead of being quarantined or asked to stay home, family members, colleagues and classmates of confirmed cases had to attend school and show up for work, unless they had symptoms themselves. Testing in Sweden still lags behind many other countries. 

Soon, infections surged and by late March, more than 30 COVID-19 patients were being admitted to ICUs daily. By early April, Sweden was recording about 90 deaths from the virus daily and while hospitals did not become as overwhelmed as those in northern Italy or New York City, that was in part because many severely ill patients weren’t hospitalized. A March 17 directive to Stockholm area hospitals started patients older than 80 or with a BMI above 40 should not be admitted to intensive care, because they were less likely to recover. Most nursing homes were not equipped to administer oxygen, so many residents instead received morphine to alleviate their suffering. 

Folkhälsomymndigheten (FoHM), the public health authority in Sweden decided to keep schools open despite surging cases may also have added to the spread…few Swedish children were tested in that period, even if they had COVID-19 symptoms. And the lack of contact tracing means there are no data about whether cases spread in schools or not. When new FoHM guidelines allowed symptomatic children to be tested in June, cases in children shot up – from fewer than 20/week in late May to more than 100 in the second week of June. 

Indirect data suggest children in Sweden were infected far more than their Finnish counterparts. The FoHM report says 14 Swedish kids were admitted to intensive care with COVID-19, versus one in Finland, which has roughly half as many school children. In Sweden, at least 70 children have been diagnosed with multi system inflammatory syndrome, a rare complication of COVID-19, versus fewer than five in Finland. 

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/10/it-s-been-so-so-surreal-critics-sweden-s-lax-pandemic-policies-face-fierce-backlash

Sweden is a country that has around 10,000,000 people, less than 1/10th of the Philippine population. With the second surge they are going through, their number of cases per capita is now at over 30,000 per million people (compared to the Philippines which is at 4,000/million population). 

But the drop in cases in the summer most likely was not due to herd immunity kicking in. While the cases fell from a record 1,698 on June 24 to 200 per day in early September, the summer traditions where hundreds of thousands leave cities and towns for remote cabins in what amounts to 3 months of national social distancing, may be the reason for the decline. 

In October, the cases began to rise once more as winter drew near. In three months, Sweden is now up at 36th rank in the world with almost 5,000 cases/day. And while there are less deaths compared to the first wave, the Swedish experiment took a toll on every life that mattered.