MANILA - The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may reach 530,000 to 540,000 by the end of the month, a group of independent researchers said Monday.
The country on Sunday breached a total of half a million coronavirus cases, with 24,691 active infections.
The tally may reach the higher number of forecast if the more contagious COVID-19 variant will spread in the country, said OCTA Research Group fellow Guido David.
"'Di pa rin kasi natin sigurado 'yung extent ng variant dito. Pag kumalat 'yun, mas mabilis ang pagdami ng cases," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We're still not yet sure of the extent of the variant here If it spreads, the number of cases will go up faster.)
"Sa katapusan ng January nakikita natin 530,000 average, pwede namang less, 525,000 'yung total number of cases. Kung bumilis pa 'yang pagkalat ng pandemic pwede pa 'yang umabot ng 540,000."
(By end of January, we can see an average of 530,000 or 525,000 total number of cases. If the pandemic spreads faster it can reach 540,000.)
Metro Manila is seeing an upward trend in its COVID-19 cases but still below the average 2,000 daily cases during the height of the pandemic, David said.
The effect of the Feast of the Black Nazarene and the Sto. Niño may take 1 to 2 weeks before it manifests, he added.
"Ngayon nagkaroon ng slight uptick sa Metro Manila pero nasa 400 to 500 cases per day pa rin naman tayo sa Metro Manila. So medyo matagal pa naman tayo dun sa level ng MECQ (modified enahcned community quarantine) kasi mga 2,000 cases per day tayo bago tayo umabot dun sa level ng August eh," he said.
(There was a slight uptick in Metro Manila but we're still averaging 400 to 500 cases per day. It will be long before we reach MECQ level of 2,000 cases per day back in August.)
"Last time we were under ECQ nasa 4,000 cases per day tayo sa buong Philippines. Totoo 'yun pero sa Metro Manila nasa 2,000 cases per day tayo at the time."
(Last time we were under ECQ there was an average of 4,000 cases per day in the entire Philippines, Metro Manila had 2,000 cases at the time.)