MANILA — Nearly half or almost 49% of the COVID-19 patients in the Philippines who have recovered as of April 15, Wednesday, are 50 years old and above, according to Department of Health data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG).
The group released its findings as the cumulative number of patients who recovered from the disease stood at 353 on Wednesday, surpassing the total number of deaths of 349 for the first time in about a month.
The Philippines has logged a total of 5,453 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The figure climbed to 5,660 on Thursday, including 435 recoveries and 362 fatalities.
Of the 353 patients who have recuperated as of Wednesday, a little over 25% are senior citizens, or are 60 years old and above, while those in their 50s account for close to 24%.
The specific breakdown by age group is as follows:
Below 10 y.o. - 1.7%
10 - 19 y.o. - 0.57%
20s - 13.31%
30s - 18.98%
40s - 16.71%
50s - 23.51%
60s - 15.58%
70s - 8.78%
80s - 0.85%
Having around half of recoveries involving patients who are 50 years old and above is similar to the demographics of the country’s confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, the median age of those who recovered from COVID-19 is 49, the same median age for all COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.
WIDENING THE GAP
Besides the total number of recoveries surpassing that of fatalities, the gap between the number of new recoveries and new fatalities also continues to widen.
“The 58 new recoveries reported on April 15 is four times higher than the 14 deaths announced by DOH on the same day,” the ABS-CBN IRG noted.
While that was not the first time that the number of new recoveries exceeded that of new deaths reported in a single day, it is the biggest margin, as of Wednesday. Since Monday, the margin between daily reported recoveries and fatalities also reached double digits for the first time.
Thursday's margin was much wider, with 13 new deaths and 82 new recoveries reported.
According to the ABS-CBN IRG, the daily average of recoveries in the last 10 days from Wednesday is also higher than the 10-day daily average of deaths.
The DOH started including only on Tuesday, April 14, in its count of recoveries COVID-19 patients who underwent home quarantine and self-isolation. Before that, it was only reporting patients who were confined in hospitals.
“Included in the list of recoveries are patients who were confined and patients who are asymptomatic or had mild symptoms who recovered from their self-isolation and home quarantine,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino during Wednesday’s briefing.
8 IN 10 RECOVERIES IN LAST 10 DAYS
The ABS-CBN IRG also noted that 82% or 289 of the 353 recoveries were reported by the DOH in the last 10 days alone (April 6-15).
It is unclear, however, if this can be attributed to an improved reporting system by the DOH, or patients are actually recuperating faster.
The DOH earlier said that mild cases take up to 2 weeks of recovery, while severe and critical cases take up to 3 to 6 weeks.
For the last 9 weeks, according to ABS-CBN IRG, the Philippines has been averaging 5 recoveries announced per day, based on the DOH’s case bulletins, press releases, and summary of positive cases.
However, for the period of April 6-15, the daily average of reported recoveries went up to 29.
“In terms of growth rate, the average growth in the 10-day period from April 6 to 15 is 33%, much higher than the previous nine weeks’ average daily growth rate of 27%,” ABS-CBN IRG said.
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is lagging behind others in terms of recoveries, in addition to having the most number of cumulative COVID-19 cases.
Malaysia and Thailand have already reported thousands of recoveries. Indonesia and Singapore have also reported more recovered patients than the Philippines.
Dr. Elvira de Lara-Tuprio, who served as the lead for mathematical disease modeling for the government COVID-19 projections, told ABS-CBN News earlier that the Philippines has “a lot more recovered patients than what is being reported in the news.”
“It's just a matter of updating the database of confirmed cases,” the Ateneo de Manila mathematics professor said.
Over the Holy Week, the DOH revealed that it has struggled to encode 10,000 paper forms on patient details. It has vowed to catch up on its backlog and require hospitals to submit forms online.