PH reaching 20,000 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day 'very possible': OCTA

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2021 08:35 AM | Updated as of Aug 22 2021 12:37 PM

Commuters try to catch aride at a bus stop along EDSA in Quezon City on August 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Commuters try to catch aride at a bus stop along EDSA in Quezon City on August 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines might record 20,000 fresh COVID-19 cases in one day within 2 weeks, OCTA Research said Sunday as virus reproduction rate has yet to decline in areas outside of Metro Manila.

The country so far logged a record-high 17,000 new virus cases on Friday.

It has a reproduction rate, or the number of people infected by a single virus patient, of 1.45, said OCTA Research fellow Guido David. Cases in areas outside Metro Manila are slowing down but are still rising, he added.

"'Yung 20,000 cases, mukhang very possible na maabot natin yan within the next 2 weeks, itong 20,000 cases in 1 day," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(Tallying 20,000 cases in one day is very possible within the next 2 weeks.)

"Almost sure na yan kasi 'di pa less than 1 ang reproduction number natin sa buong bansa."

(It's almost sure because our reproduction number is not yet less than 1.)

The capital region, which was placed under a 2-week strict lockdown earlier this month, has a reproduction rate of 1.67 versus 1.9 the previous week, according to David.

"May epekto ang ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) pero 'di natin nakikita agad-agad ang pagbaba ng bilang ng kaso. Baka by first or second week of September, pababa na ang bilang ng kaso natin sa Metro Manila," he said.

(The ECQ has an effect but we won't immediately see the decline in cases. Maybe by first or second week of September, cases will decrease in Metro Manila.)

It is logging a daily average of 3,500 COVID-19 cases versus 4,000 previously, David said. Its growth rate within the past week was 24 percent, a decrease from 72 percent two weeks ago, he added.

"Sa nakikita namin, di na siya lalagpas ng 5,000 sa current trend," he said.

(It will not be more than 5,000 based on the current trend.)

"Ang healthcare system natin, 'di siya makakahinga sa ngayon hanggat siguro malapit sa katapusan ng September."

(Our healthcare system will not be able to breathe until end of September.)

The Office of the Vice President has launched a new call for volunteers for its Bayanihan e-konsulta program due to the rising number of cases, said its chief of staff Undersecretary Philip Dy.

“Nitong nakaraang linggo lang... on an average, nakaka- more than 400 cases a day kaming pumapasok. So ganun talaga karami ang nangangailangan,” he said in the Vice President's weekly radio show.

(This past week, on average, we receive more than 400 cases a day. That's how much we are in need of volunteers.)

“Naniniwala ako (I believe that) if we reach out to many people, we can save many lives.”

Nurse Benjie Foscablo said he remains committed to his duty despite its dangers and small pay.

“Mga pangarap sa pamilya, sa buhay din. Being a nurse din, yun naman ang choice ko, ang pangarap ko ay to serve the people, to serve the public in terms of health," he said.

(I have dreams for my family and in life. It was my choice to be a nurse, my dream to serve the people, to serve the public in terms of health.)

The country must implement granular lockdowns, tighten its border controls, and intensify its vaccination, contact tracing, and testing against new variants, David said.

"Nagla-lockdown tayo dahil may pumapasok na variant... Isa sa mga napakahalaga talaga yung international border controls natin. 
Kung di naman nakakapasok ang variant dito, 'di naman tayo magkakaroon ng panibagong wave o lockdown," he said.

(We go on lockdowns because of the entry of new variants... One of the most important things is our international border controls. If variants don't come in, we won't have a new wave or lockdown.)

The country on Saturday logged 16,694 new COVID-19 cases, the second highest daily tally since the pandemic began, the health department said.

The figure raises the total recorded cases to 1,824,051, of which 123,935 were active infections.

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-- With a report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News