MANILA - The Philippines might have reached the peak of its latest COVID-19 surge as it recorded a weekly negative growth rate for the first time since May, OCTA Research said Sunday.
The country's virus reproduction rate is at 1.16 percent, and Metro Manila's is 1.18 percent, according to Guido David.
Aside from Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan have registered a negative growth rate, he said.
"We haven’t seen this pattern (na) puro negative growth rate since last April or May nung naka-surge tayo (when we had a surge) and we’re starting to recover from the surge," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Another important disclaimer is we’re seeing this now, but it can still change. Puwedeng bumilis ang pagbaba, or pwedeng bumaliktad, pwedeng tumaas ulit ang cases."
(The decline of cases can speed up, or it can reverse, it can rise again.)
David's pronouncement contradicts the assessment of the Department of Health, which, on Saturday said, that new COVID-19 cases in the country have yet to show signs of slowing down as 94 areas remain in the highest virus alert level while infections in the National Capital Region are still growing.
In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 94 areas are under Alert Level 4; 18 are under Alert Level 3; and, nine are under Alert Level 2. No area in the country is under Alert Level 1.
The country recorded 23,134 more COVID-19 cases on Saturday, its second-highest ever, versus 26,303 fresh infections on Sep. 11.
"Second highest number siya. Pero last Saturday, yun ang highest number. So 'pag i-compare natin last Saturday to yesterday, bumaba siya. And everyday, we're having a negative growth rate," David said.
(It's the second highest number. But the other Saturday was the record high. So if we compare the two, the cases declined, and everyday we're having a negative growth rate.)
"Pag bumababa siya week to week... 'pag puro negative ang growth rate, we're starting to see a pattern."
(If it continues to decline week to week... if there's consistent negative growth rate, we're starting to see a pattern.)
The decline in the country's infection is still slow as some regions are recording a rise in infections, according to David. These are Western Visayas and Ilocos, he said.
"Tomorrow siguro, makikita natin kung may effect sa trend yung recent interventions natin. So far, ang nakikita natin ay epekto pa 'to ng MECQ. Kasi, yung kahapon (na data), Sept. 18, usually mga three days yung lag, so galing Sept. 15 pa yun na cases," David said when asked about the impact of the new Alert Level scheme that started its pilot implementation in Metro Manila last Sept. 16.
(Maybe, tomorrow, we will see the effect in the trend of the recent interventions. So, what we are seeing now are effects of the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine. Yesterday's announced data is from cases that actually happened Sept. 15, since there is usually a lag of three days in reporting.)
Lawmakers have criticized OCTA Research for the accuracy of its COVID-19 projections. The group said it uses data from the Department of Health.
Nearly 18 million individuals in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of Sept. 16, representing more than 23 percent of the government's target to achieve herd immunity.