MANILA — Coronavirus infections in Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions are nearing the highest daily level reached during the surge experienced last September due to the delta variant, an analyst said Sunday.
"Nalampasan na natin 'yong peak... noong delta for NCR (National Capital Region). And for Region 4A (Calabarzon) and Region 3 (Central Luzon), malapit na po," Jomar Rabajante of the University of the Philippines Pandemic Response Team told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We've surpassed our peak... for delta in NCR. And for Region 4A and Region 3, we're nearing the peak.)
"Itong nangyayari sa karatig na mga region na ito, provinces na ito, ay posibleng magpabilis ng ating [national] peak and baka ma-target natin ito, mid-January," he said.
(What's happening in our nearby regions, provinces, will speed up the peak for the entire country and we may reach this target around mid-January.)
Rabajante said the highest number of new cases recorded in Metro Manila during the delta-triggered surge was 9,031, on Sept. 11. Calabarzon had 5,833 while Central Luzon logged 3,111.
The NCR surpassed that record last Jan. 6, with 11,630 additional infections, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido, who cited Department of Health (DOH) data.
Citing also the latest DOH data, Guido said Sunday that of the 26,458 new cases reported by the agency on Saturday, 16,233 are from Metro Manila, 5,427 are from Calabarzon, and 2,297 are from Central Luzon.
Rabajante said early last week that COVID-19 infections in the country may reach its peak as early as Jan. 15 or as late as the third week of February, citing a possible range of 20,000 to 40,000 reported cases in a day.
The DOH, for its part, projected that the country's COVID-19 cases will peak by the end of the month.
Rabajante explained that regions may have different timelines as to reaching their respective peak since COVID-19 cases just started to rise in other parts of the country.
"Some provinces may have the peak later pa, puwedeng mga February pa, kasi hindi sabay-sabay na nag-start 'yong ating omicron spread," he said, referring to the more transmissible COVID-19 variant suspected of causing the current wave of infections.
(Some provinces may reach the peak later on, probably around February, because omicron did not begin to spread at the same time for all.)
Rabajante said the UP Pandemic Response Team also saw an acceleration in the increase of COVID-19 cases in Cagayan Valley and Central Visayas.
Region 2 logged 403 new cases on Saturday, while Region 7 had 273. The Ilocos Region, meanwhile, recorded 339 additional infections, data shared by Guido showed.
Rabajante said it is possible for cases to subside in a month or two.
The good news, he noted, is that the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates are not increasing as fast as the number of cases.
"Malayo pa rin tayo sa nangyari noong delta surge," he said.
Authorities and experts continue to remind the public to follow the minimum public health standards and get vaccinated against COVID-19.