The Province of Rizal reported 117 Covid cases today. Photo of Baras Church in Rizal by Elmer B. Domingo on Wikimedia Commons
Culture

PH posts 1,136 newly reported cases, with highest numbers coming from Rizal, Bulacan and QC

Joining the day's top five are Isabela and Laguna.  
BENJAMIN CO, MD | Dec 15 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 15, 2020 (updated)

DoH announced 1,136 new Covid cases today. Four provinces – Rizal, Bulacan, Isabela, and Laguna, and one city – Quezon City, are in the top five. 

There were 56 new deaths reported bringing the case fatality rate back up at 1.95 percent.

Yesterday’s data breakdown

THE PHILIPPINES

We share no data today as the website of the Health Agency is down. There was no information in the data drop related to the granularity of numbers announced the previous day. This is ironic because the agency was able (and is able) to provide the top five areas (cities or provinces) with the highest cases. In order to do that, one must know all the data. 

 

THE WORLD

With more than 500,000 cases overnight and more than 8,000 new deaths, the world now crosses the 73,000,000 mark.

There are 15 countries with more than 1,000,000 cases each. Peru will most likely be the sixteenth in the next few days.

  • Global case fatality rate: 2.22 percent.
  • Five European nations were among the top ten contributors to the pool of new cases yesterday – Turkey, UK, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Ro and Rt

I think there’s a lot of confusion when people refer to the Ro and Rt, interchangeably.

They are not the same. 

Ro (R-naught) is otherwise known as the basic reproductive number. In short, it tells you how many other people can get the disease from one person in a given population that HAS NOT BEEN EXPOSED TO THE DISEASE BEFORE. The estimated Ro for SARS-CoV2 is between 2-3 (the World Health puts it between 1.4-2.5). This means that for every person with SARS-CoV2, he or she can potentially infect 2-3 people. But this parameter is not set in stone. It is a “measure of a disease’s potential.” Once response or mitigation measures (distancing, quarantine, isolation, masking, etc) are put in place, the transmission rate may be lowered. 

The effective or actual reproductive number (Rt) is the virus’s ACTUAL TRANSMISSION RATE AT A GIVEN TIME.

One tells you the likelihood (Ro), the other tells you the actual picture (Rt). 

The Rt serves as a useful measuring tool for governments and policy makers on the current situation of the pandemic. Gabriel Leung, an epidemiologist, summarized it well when he said that the Rt helps decision makers “more precisely adjust their interventions to keep that number at what is, for them and their constituents, an acceptable level.” Rt shows how SARS-CoV2 is spreading in a particular community in real time. 

Note that even real-time Rt will inevitably lag behind the actual spread of the virus because of many factors including limited testing capacity, poor contact tracing, and the length of the incubation period for COVID-19, which on the average is 5 days, or when someone is asymptomatic. 

As the epidemiologists use Rt to help guide the government during this season of festivity, the government should heed this tool in order to safely and cautiously restore the economy slowly but surely in the days to come. 

And everyone should do their share at bringing the numbers down. As the word BAYANIHAN comes into play, the real spirit of BAYANIHAN is a selfless commitment by every Filipino to bringing down the new cases daily by doing his/her share at limiting social gatherings and following the health protocols to the letter this holiday season.