MANILA - Around 3 million Filipinos might have unknowingly contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from April to June, a study from the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development showed.
The figure is an estimate reached using crude empirical strategy, author Jan Frederick Cruz said in his August 18 working paper.
"Many Filipinos are plausibly unaware that they have COVID-19, and are likely exposing their household, immediate community, and workplace to risk of infection," he said in the paper.
"The same set of Filipinos is not receiving the proper treatment because of the absence of diagnosis," he added.
The estimate, equivalent to around 2.6 percent of the country's population, is the worst record in comparison with neighboring Southeast Asian countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
A discussion of the methodology used for the study showed that the estimate was reached by recomputation of the COVID-19 fatality rate along with an estimation of the likely magnitude of COVID-19 cases, and an indication of the underreporting in the Philippines.
Sought for comment over the study, the Department of Health said it would review the working paper but insisted that hospitals are highly utilized for COVID-19 patient care.
"Nakikita naman po natin ano na iyong utilization rate po ng ating mga ospital ay talagang nandoon po at tumataas because of all of these patients being admitted," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Palace press briefing.
(We can see the high utilization rate of our hospitals because of all these patients being admitted.)
"So we still need to review that data that you are now pertaining to and we will give information after we have reviewed that," she added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, urged the public to practice minimum health standards such as wearing face masks, and practicing physical distancing.
"Talagang ang ating sandata ngayon – social distancing, face shield, paghuhugas ng kamay, face mask," he said.
(Our tools right now are social distancing, face shield, handwashing, and face mask.)