Rhodina Villenueva – The Philippine Star
November 30, 2022 at 12:00am| 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — With less than a month before Christmas, the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said active COVID-19 cases in the country may reach a total of 18,000 by December if compliance with public health safeguards continues to decline.
Yesterday’s media forum was addressed by Dr. Alethea de Guzman from DOH Epidemiology Bureau. She stated that compliance with minimum public safety standards, particularly during the holidays, will continue to drop, which will lead to an increase in COVID-19-related cases.
“If our minimum public health standards (MPHS) compliance further decreases, our daily cases may probably range from 1,114 to as high as 2,294 by the end of December, and our active cases may also reach a total of 18,000 by December,” De Guzman said, citing projections made by FASSSTER, a web application for creating disease models for diseases and for visualizing syndromic surveillance.
“The holiday season will mean more interactions by people. Social distancing will not be observed, and expect a decrease in compliance to minimum public health standards,” she pointed out.
De Guzman stated that there was also a need for us to look at the projections made by the Australian Modeling Network. This is a scenario in which there won’t be any new concerns.
“If no new variant of concern will enter the country, we might not see a rise in the country’s hospitalization rate. Again, cases could go up but they will not translate into significant increases in our hospitalizations,” De Guzman stated.
De Guzman stated that it is possible for an immune escaping virus that is far more transmissible to enter the country. This could lead to an increase in hospitalizations.
“But these are actually outcomes that we can prevent by increasing our vaccinations, and that even if our hospitalizations increase with the presence of these variants, we can prevent severe outcomes and even fatalities resulting from an immune escaping variant or a more transmissible variant,” the health official said.
“We need to maintain that high immunity wall not just for ourselves. The reminder is not for me alone or you alone but it’s for your family, it’s for your circles to ensure that everyone has that high protection against COVID-19,” she added.
For his part, infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña said that “because of vaccination, because we already know how to deal with this, we will not experience what we’ve gone through before with the Delta variant in terms of hospitalizations. Even with the worst case scenarios and with the presence of new variants, we have already done a lot of work in terms of vaccinating our population and at the same time, we continue to provide boosters also,” he concluded.
1,083 brand new cases
The DOH recorded 1,083 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, bringing the country’s caseload to 4,034,658, with some 18,507 active cases. DOH also reported that COVID-19 deaths had been reduced to 64,608 and COVID-19 recoveries reached 3,951,543.
Metro Manila leads with 4,094 cases over the past 2 weeks. Calabarzon (1.958), Western Visayas (1.1822), Central Luzon (1.653), Central Visayas (1.0022) are next.
DOH reported that 31,701,306 individuals had undergone COVID-19 testing. This included 8,352 people who were tested last November 27. – Sheila Crisostomo