COVID-19 Delta spike continues, but we will overcome | Inquirer Opinion
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COVID-19 Delta spike continues, but we will overcome

07:38 AM August 31, 2021

The latest 22,366 new COVID-19 cases reported by DOH on Monday (Aug. 30) spooked many of us. Of course, we were pre-warned of this sudden spike by both OCTA Research and the DOH a few weeks ago but when real numbers come, it is fearsome.

In Metro Manila’s prevailing heightened restrictions, DOH earlier projected our average 32,000 active cases to almost triple by 83,921 today, Aug. 31. DOH also said we will hit 158,459 active cases by Sept 30.

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Fortunately these predictions missed as we had only 41,112 active cases today, not 83,921. Latest new cases in NCR soared at 5,588 highest since April 11. But the fatality rate was only 24, still a low figure compared to last year.

OCTA Research says the NCR’s COVID-19 current reproduction rate of 1.47 is expected to decline to less than 1 by Sept. 13. They attributed this to citizens strictly following health protocols and quarantine restrictions. However, experts say the highest vaccination rate of A2-A3 vulnerables in NCR helped the drop. Almost 43.5 percent of eligible vaccine recipients in NCR, or a total of 4.3 million people, are already fully vaccinated. By today, MMDA and MMC are seeking 50 percent to inoculate the remaining 2.1 million unvaccinated in the region.

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Frankly, these are consoling and good news, even if some alarmist people in mainstream media tend to highlight negatives in this daily fight. Perhaps, media should instead inform the public which of the confined COVID-19 patients in all hospitals, whether government owned, LGU operated, and private, are either vaccinated or unvaccinated. A worldwide trend of pandemic coverage that some of our own media colleagues are missing at this point.

But outside NCR, the daily number of new cases is still spiking. On August 23-29, new cases nationwide averaged 17,105 with positivity rates at highest 27.9 percent and lowest 24.9 percent. On Monday, Calabarzon had 4,942 cases, Central Luzon had 2,885, Central Visayas had 1,744, Ilocos Region had 1,153, Cagayan Valley had 1,132, and Davao Region, 1,097.

Cavite was top province with 1,922 new cases, followed by Laguna,1,405; Bulacan, 898; Rizal, 814; Batangas, 630, Davao City, 568; Cagayan, 543; Iloilo, 534; and Nueva Ecija, 467. These numbers indicate the surge of the pandemic in the countryside.

The virus is hitting hard is and around 55,772,506 Filipinos remain unvaccinated. They are highest in Calabarzon with 8.5 million, Central Luzon, 6.8 million; Western Visayas, 4.4 million; Central Visayas, 4.3 million; Bicol, 3.7 million; and Ilocos, Socsargen and Northern Mindanao, 2.9 million each. No wonder cases are spiking in these areas. These people must be put on high priority.

Government recently declared that 25 million vaccines will arrive in September from which Central Luzon and Calabarzon will get three million doses each. Nine other regions will receive one million doses each while Metro Manila will have less than 950,000 doses. Beginning October, 11 million vaccine doses are expected and government wants to vaccinate a total of 77,139,059 Filipinos, or 70 percent of the projected 2021 population.

On the whole, the country still has a better fight against COVID-19. Yes we will continue to see both higher new and active cases, but the number of fatalities will continue to decline. The past week, we are averaging 204 deaths, the highest was 303 on Aug. 24 and low of 113 on Aug. 27. For the past two years, we average at 300 fatalities per million population, better than medically advanced western countries such as USA (1,965), UK (1,939), Malaysia (499), and India (314) to name a few. Also our recovery rate remains high at 90.8 percent.

But again, we must always protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly pandemic. We’ve lost a lot of friends, relatives, media colleagues, including rich and famous people. Let’s help one another, our communities, the LGUs and the national government in fighting this disease. Again, I insist, this is a Filipino people’s war against the coronavirus and all of us should unite.

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