MANILA - COVID-19 cases could go up to as high as 13,000 per day before the trend is reversed, the OCTA Research Group on Saturday said, as it urged the government to extend the implementation of the NCR Bubble to decrease the reproduction number of the virus.
“Ang sinasabi natin mga 10,000 to 11,000 by next week. Itong 12,000 to 13,000, makikita natin ito sa April pa, unless magmirakulo tayo sa COVID,” said OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David.
(What were saying is that cases could go up from 10,000 to 11,000 by next week. But the 12,000 to 13,000, we’ll probably see in April, unless there’s a miracle.)
David said the government must keep the restrictions in the NCR Bubble, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
“I think most likely kailangang nating i-extend. Kasi kung ‘di natin i-extend pag binalik na natin sa dati lakakas na naman yung pwersa pataas (increase momentum) bibils na naman ang number of cases na magiging problema ng mga hosptals natin na ngayon ay napupuno na ang dadami pa yung cases mas lalo pa silang mapupuno,” David said.
(I think most likely we need to extend it. Because if we don’t extend it, we might see an increase in the number of cases which could overwhelm our hospitals.)
Last year, when Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine, it took about 27 days to see its effect on the trend. He said the only difference is that last year, the surge was not variant-driven and the reproduction rate was low.
“Tingnan natin let’s reevaluate by next week baka naman bumilis yung pagbaba ng reproduction number,” he said.
Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan are under a general community quarantine with additional restrictions or NCR Plus Bubble from March 22 to April 4.
David said a lockdown would definitely reduce the number of cases. However, the government needed to strike a balance between health and economy.
“Kung objective natin mapababa yung cases pwede tayong mag strict lockdown. Pero kung objective natin i-balance yung pag reduce ng reproduction number pero may kabuhayan pa rin pwedeng ganito yung trajectory natin, medyo hihigpitan lang natin ng konti or mas papaigtingin ibang mga health protocols bababa yung reproduction number medyo mabagal lang nga baka abutin tayo ng 4 weeks or even longer,” David said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
(If our objective is to bring down the cases we could resort to a strict lockdown. But if our objective is to balance, to reduce the reproduction number with livelihood this can be our trajectory, we could tighten restrictions or strengthen health protocols that would help decrease the reproduction number in about 4 weeks or even longer.)
David said the reproduction number the past week has decreased from 2.04 to an average of 1.94 this week. But it is too early to say if the interventions has affected the trend.
“Hindi pa natin masaabi, hindi pa tayo naka isang linggo dito sa GCQ bubble saka matagal natin bago makita ang effects ng interventions mga 2 weeks pa. Hopefully mapababa natin kahit 1.6 hanggang 1.5 ang reproduction number malaking factor na rin yun at least were on the right track,” he said.
(We can’t say yet because were still into the first week of the GCQ bubble and it may take around 2 weeks to see its effect. Hopefully we could bring the reproduction number down to at least 1.6 to 1.5, that’s going to be a big factor, at least were on the right track.)
As of Friday, the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines breached the 700,000 mark with another record-high 9,838 newly-reported infections.