'Pandemic fatigue': Overcrowding may cause uptick in COVID-19 cases, says OCTA Research


Posted at Dec 05 2020 10:18 AM

'Pandemic fatigue': Overcrowding may cause uptick in COVID-19 cases, says OCTA Research 1
A police officer flashes a signage with safety reminders along a crowded Ylaya Street in Divisoria, Manila on December 3, 2020. Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Mayor Isko Moreno visited the area to remind shoppers about the importance of abiding to the minimum public health standards as the Christmas season approaches. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Metro Manila could go up to 1,000 daily this holiday season if minimum health standards set by the government are not observed.

Dr. Guido David of the OCTA Research Group said Metro Manila showed a big improvement in terms of COVID-19 numbers. 

“Nung August, yung average cases natin sa Metro Manila 2,000 per day mahigit. Ngayon 400 per day. Ang laki na ng binaba natin from 2,000 to 400. Malaking improvement yan,” David said.

(In August, the average cases for Metro Manila was more than 2,000 per day. Now its 400 per day. That’s a big decrease from 2,000 to 400. That’s a big improvement.)

In an interview on TeleRadyo on Saturday, David said Metro Manila is slowly flattening the COVID-19 curb but the numbers are not yet enough to further ease its community quarantine restrictions.

“Ang iniiwasan natin magka-increase tapos bumalik tayo sa 2,000 cases per day. Ang ini-expect namin, kahit magka-surge ngayon, baka umabot siya ng mga 800-1,000 cases per day sa Metro Manila, kaya pa naman yan,” David said.

(What were preventing is an increase where we’ll go back to having 2,000 cases per day. We're anticipating a surge that may reach from 800 to 1,000 cases per day in Metro Manila, but that is still manageable.)

As the Christmas holiday season nears, more people are crowding malls and traditional shopping areas like Divisoria to buy last minute gifts and other things for Christmas and the New Year.
David said they expect the number of cases to go down after the holiday season.

“Overcrowding kasi ang ating binabantayan,” he said.

(Overcrowding is something we are watching out for.)
He cited a recent study in India that showed minors have a big potential for spreading the virus.

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“Kaya gusto natin bantayan, medyo i-limit paglabas ng mga minors at saka seniors. Hindi naman natin sinasabing wag na wag na silang lumabas pero ilimit natin,” he said.

(That’s why we want to limit the movement of minors and seniors. We're not telling them not to go out but only to limit it.)

He acknowledged that many people are now feeling the pandemic fatigue. But they continue to appeal to the public to limit movement, avoid overcrowding, and observe health protocols like frequent hand washing, wearing of face masks and face shields.

These were proven to curb the spread of the virus for the past 3 months, he said.

“Pag sumusunod tayo sa mga patakaran, sa mga protocols and guidelines na ibinibigay ng government at Department of Health kumakaunti ang bilang ng kaso. Kaya ngayon mas maluwag na tayo kaya mas afford na nating pwede na tayong lumabas kasi mga hospitals di na rin sila ganung kapuno ngayon,” he said.

(The cases decrease when we follow protocols set by the government and the Department of Health. That’s why we're more relaxed now and can afford to go out because our hospitals are not as full as before.)

As of Friday, the Philippines reported 436,345 cases of COVID-19, including 399,457 who have recovered, and 8,509 deaths.

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The OCTA Research Group said that there might be a total of 500,000 cases by the end of the year.

“Ine-expect natin may uptick ngayon pero inaasahan naming hindi naman magiging malala ang uptick para pagdating ng January bababa na siya ulit. Hindi tayo aabot sa critical level,” he said.

(We expect an uptick but it will not be worse, we will not reach the critical level, and this will decrease by January.)