MANILA - The Philippines' total COVID-19 cases might reach 3 million to 4 million by yearend, the UP Pandemic Response Team said Tuesday.
The country recorded its highest-ever fresh COVID infections at 22,366 on Monday, a day after the Department of Health announced it has detected 516 more Delta variant cases.
The nation so far has a total of 1,976,202 COVID-19 cases, of which 148,594 remain active.
The Philippines might tally up to 30,000 daily fresh cases until end of September and infections peak early October, said Prof. Jomar Rabajante of the UP Pandemic Response Team.
"Ito pong projections namin kung titingnan, lumalabas ang cumulative cases possible tayo lumagpas ng 3 million at even 4 million bago matapos ang 2021," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Our projections show that our cumulative cases might reach more than 3 million, even 4 million before 2021 ends.)
In the scenarios the group simulated, the capital region's intensive care units might just be enough but there are cases they could be overwhelmed, Rabajante said. Hospitals nationwide might reach overcapacity, he added.
"Hindi lang po sa NCR (National Capital Region), sa buong bansa mataas po at dire-diretsong pagtaas ang mga kaso," he said.
(It's not only in the NCR that cases rise, it's nationwide and it's continuous.)
The DOH expects cases to increase in the "coming days or weeks" due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, its spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
"Kailangan i-factor in din natin because this is the Delta variant...we are seeing that cases would still continue to come in until September po yan tsaka po natin makikita bumaba," she said.
(We have to factor in that this is the Delta variant...we are seeing that cases would still continue to come in until September and then it will decline.)
Minimum health standards must be maintained and the country's vaccination program must be hastened, Rabajante said.
"Talagang dapat mas maging mabilis tayo sa pagbabakuna compared sa pagkalat ng virus," he said.
(We should be vaccinating faster than the virus spread.)
Hard lockdowns such as the enhanced community quarantine are no longer effective due to the increased mobility of the public, he added.
The DOH has proposed to the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 that local governments focus on granular lockdowns, Vergeire said.
Teleradyo, UP Pandemic Response Team, DOH, Maria Rosario Vergeire, Jomar Rabajante