MANILA — Pandemic monitor OCTA Research Group said Sunday it believes COVID-19 cases in the Philippines would not reach their peak "any time soon" since the regions outside Metro Manila have just started to experience a sharp increase in new infections.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News' TeleRadyo, OCTA fellow Guido David said the new COVID-19 surge is no longer contained in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding provinces.
"Unfortunately, I don't think magpi-peak siya sa buong Pilipinas any time soon kasi talagang naga-accelerate pa lang iyong surge in many parts of the country," he said.
(Unfortunately, I don't think cases in the entire Philippines will peak any time soon because the surge has just started to accelerate in many parts of the country.)
David cited Cebu City and Tacloban City, which reported record-high new infections on Saturday, at 393 and 108, respectively.
"Hindi na lang nasa NCR Plus ang surge. It's now all over the Philippines, and hindi pa siya magpi-peak sa buong Philippines even if kunyari sabihin natin baka nagpi-peak na sa NCR," David explained.
(The surge is no longer just in NCR Plus. It's now all over the Philippines, and it won't peak in the entire Philippines even if, for instance, we say that cases have peaked in the NCR.)
David said it was possible that NCR had already reached its peak and that new cases are decreasing. But he does not discount the possibility that the region is now at its COVID-19 testing limit.
"Malalaman natin iyan [in] the next few days. Kung hindi siya (number of cases) bumababa from 17,000 to 18,000, it means na baka tumataas na siya pero hindi lang natin nakikita," he said.
(We'll find out what's really happening [in] the next few days. if the number of new cases won't go down from 17,000 to 18,000, it means that maybe there's increasing infections, but we just don't see it.)
David's statement comes a day after the Department of Health (DOH) said the growth of new cases in Metro Manila has slowed down.
On Twitter, David said 18,422 new cases were reported in Metro Manila, while the growth rate of the 7-day average in the region was at 2 percent.
The DOH projects that COVID-19 cases in the country would peak by the end of January or early February.
The Philippines, in recent weeks, has reported record-high new COVID-19 cases, the latest at over 39,000 on Saturday.
OCTA expects the Philippines to report around 41,000 new cases on Sunday or Monday, David said.
Lawmakers have criticized OCTA Research for the accuracy of its COVID-19 projections. The group said it uses data from the DOH.
The government has placed parts of the country under the third strictest alert level and limited the mobility of unvaccinated individuals, in a bid to curb rising cases.