PH may flatten coronavirus curve by end-August or September: UP experts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2020 08:07 AM | Updated as of Aug 24 2020 06:25 PM

People flock to rows of shops in Parañaque City on Aug. 23, 2020 amid the return of Metro Manila under general community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Filipinos by the end of the month or next month might see a flattening of the coronavirus curve, which means a decrease in new cases of the disease that has spurred months of lockdown, a member of an interdisciplinary research group from the University of the Philippines (UP) said Monday. 

COVID-19’s reproduction rate — or the number of people infected by each person carrying the virus — went down to 1.1 from 1.5 after Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces’ 2-week return to the second strictest lockdown level earlier this month, said Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research Team. 

A reproduction rate above "1" means the disease is continuing to expand; below that threshold, it will eventually peter out. 

“Sa ngayon umaasa tayong kaya pa rin iyan: katapusan ng August ma-flatten ang curve, or puwedeng kahit September siguro mangyari iyan,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

(For now, we are hoping that we can still do that, flatten the curve by the end of August, or maybe September.) 

Watch more in iWant or TFC.tv

However, even after the curve is flattened, it may take 1 or 2 more months before the number of cases reaches a “very manageable” level, said David. 

“Hindi naman ibig sabihin flatten iyong curve, tapos na… Kaya kailangan, talagang continuous iyong effort natin. Hindi tayo puwedeng magpabaya kasi puwedeng magka-surge ulit iyan,” he said. 

(Flattening the curve does not mean that the pandemic is over. This is why our effort needs to be continuous. We can’t be complacent because that can surge again.)

The UP OCTA Research Group is finalizing a report on coronavirus hotspots for the government, said David. 

The Department of Health welcomed the estimate of the UP OCTA Research Group but noted that it cannot say yet whether the country could meet such a prediction.

"Welcome po tayo dito sa mga sinasabi ng ating mga institutions especially iyong mga forecasts nila, at ito po ang minsan ay nagiging batayan natin kung paano tayo makakapagresponde," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Palace press briefing.

(We welcome the inputs and forecasts of these institutions which we sometimes use as basis for our response.)

"Let us try to monitor it for a longer period pa para makita natin talaga if the trends are really accordingly doon po sa mga sinasabing forecasts ng ating mga kasama dito sa academe," she added.

(Let us try to monitor it for a longer period to see if the trends are according to the forecasts of those in the academe.)

The Philippines on Sunday confirmed 2,378 additional COVID-19 cases, the lowest one-day spike for new cases since July 29.

This brought up the total infections to 189,601, of which 55,236 were active cases. 

The lockdown affecting a quarter of the population, including Metro Manila, was eased last Wednesday to rescue the economy from recession. 

Authorities have ordered people to wear face masks and visors at their workplaces, the public transport, and other crowded areas to prevent outbreaks. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse