OCTA: New COVID-19 surge possible if public fails to follow health protocols

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2022 09:26 AM | Updated as of Mar 06 2022 10:09 AM

People visit a mall in Makati on March 3, 2022, the second straight day that health authorities in the Philippines logged less than a thousand fresh COVID-19 cases. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People visit a mall in Makati on March 3, 2022, the second straight day that health authorities in the Philippines logged less than a thousand fresh COVID-19 cases. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News


MANILA — Pandemic monitoring group OCTA Research on Sunday reminded the public to continue following health protocols and get booster shots if eligible as it warned of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the next months.

The country has been reporting fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the past few days but "things can still change," said OCTA fellow Guido David.

"Technically, we can say the worst is over for now pero (but) things can still change," David told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

"Maybe by April or May, we are vulnerable again," he said, explaining that the country usually experiences a surge after every three months.

The possible surge can be triggered by COVID-19 variants, the public's failure to comply with minimum health standards, large gatherings during campaign rallies, and waning immunity.

"All these factors... It could cause a resurgence. Maybe not as big, but it could be a significant resurge of cases if we're not careful," he said.

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Still, the group is expecting the number of new cases to drop to 500 per day by the end of March, David said.

Metro Manila and other parts of the country recently shifted to Alert Level 1, the least restrictive in a 5-tier system that dictates COVID-19 protocols.

On Saturday, the Philippines recorded 941 new COVID-19 infections. It also reported a 3.8-percent positivity rate, the lowest so far this year.

David explained that the COVID situation cannot be considered "endemic" yet because cases continue to rise in other territories, such as in neighboring Hong Kong and South Korea.

"Hindi pa tayo makapagsabi na endemic na if mataas pa 'yong cases all over the world. We're not independent or isolated from the rest of the world. Whatever happens outside the country will affect us at some point," he said.

(We can't say we're at an endemic stage if the cases are still high all over the world. We're not independent or isolated from the rest of the world. Whatever happens outside the country will affect us at some point.)

The Philippines has logged a total of 3,666,678 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Saturday, of which 49,374 or 1.3 percent are active. The first infection was recorded on Jan. 30, 2020 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

The country last experienced a surge from late December until January due to the omicron variant, although it did not significantly affect the health system as majority of the cases remained mild.

Data monitored by the ABS-CBN Investigate and Research Group showed that as of Feb. 27, more than 63 million people in the Philippines are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while over 62.2 million others have received their first dose.

More than 10.13 million booster doses have also been administered.