MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — The Philippines reported 146 new COVID-related deaths on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day in the last 4 months, as total confirmed coronavirus infections climbed to 492,700.
According to the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team, the additional fatalities for the day is the highest since September 14 when the country logged a record-breaking 259 deaths.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said the increase in reported deaths is due to late reporting from previous months.
“Of the deaths (reported) today, 36 percent occurred in December and others were from months before,” it said. It did not specify how many occurred recently.
“We continue to work with our disease reporting units for timely reporting of these events and ensure utmost accuracy of our data,” the DOH said.
The agency removed 11 cases, 2 tagged as recovered and 1 as death, from the official tally because of duplicate entries.
There were also 44 recovered cases that turned out to be deaths, which means they were included in Wednesday’s tally of fatalities.
But according to the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team, DOH's statement that the other deaths "were from months before" was misleading.
Edson Guido of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team said that 36 percent occurred in December but 39 percent were from Jan. 1 to 9.
He said that of the deaths reported on Jan. 13, 39 percent were from Jan. 1 to 9, 2021 and 36 percent occurred last December. The remaining 25 percent were from months before, he added.
On Tuesday, the DOH reported 139 COVID-related deaths, including 78 reclassified cases.
For Wednesday’s tally, 1,453 new COVID-19 cases were reported, as well as 397 new recoveries.
Total recoveries stood at 458,523, while the death toll is 9,699.
Of the 24,478 active cases, 84.9% have mild symptoms, 6.1% are asymptomatic, 5.5% are in critical condition, 3% have severe symptoms, and 0.5% have moderate symptoms.
The new COVID-19 cases tally does not include data from 4 laboratories that failed to submit their results on time.
Topping the list of areas with the most number of new COVID-19 cases are Quezon City with 95, Cavite province with 66, Manila City with 54, Davao City with 50, and Cebu City with 44.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during Wednesday’s Laging Handa briefing said they have been preparing since December for a possible surge in cases due to the holidays.
“Sa ngayon nga po, nakikita natin mga 4 o 5 araw, nagtatala tayo ng kaso na more than 1,000,” she said.
(Right now, we are seeing in the last 4 to 5 days new cases at more than 1,000.)
During the holidays, the numbers fell to below 1,000 each day supposedly due to the low number of people asking to be tested and a number of laboratories that were closed.
Vergeire said they have already reminded hospitals to dedicate enough beds for COVID-19 cases and for local government units to be ready as well.
She said cases may increase in the next few weeks.
The Philippines has yet to start COVID-19 vaccinations but supplies are expected to arrive as early as next month.
There are currently 38.98 million people with COVID-19 worldwide. Since the start of the pandemic, 91.65 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, more than 1.96 million have died and more than 50.7 million have recovered.
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