Manila’s anti-COVID-19 response tops all LGUs in DOH data
Tomorrow, 16 of 17 cities in Metro Manila and almost nationwide will be on Alert level 4 because of high risk ADARS, moderate to high risk utilization rates and high-risk health systems capacity. And surprisingly, only the City of Manila, will remain at lower Alert Level 3.
Why is this so? What makes Manila’s pandemic response different and successful from all other LGUs nationwide?
According to DOH data, Manila has best overall performance during the strict ECQ and heightened MECQ period from August 23 to September 05. They are averaging a total of 240 new cases daily (total 1.2M population) but their quarantine and COVID facilities are more than enough.
As of latest, they only have a city-wide total of 1,754 active cases, but all are covered by a strong health system from its fully equipped six district hospitals’ now with a low 61 percent capacity. Together with the the Luneta field hospital (Wuhan-inspired) which was made available to non-Manilans, its capacity remains at high 91 percent. This allows a total of 1,328 Covid bed capacity for the severe and critical patients. Moreover, continuous medication is guaranteed by the LGU’s pro-active procurement of now scarce anti-covid drugs, remdesivir and tocilizumab . Lastly, Covid confinement in Manila’s public hospitals is free of charge.
No less than Mayor Isko was ospitalized and cleared of Covid -19 in his city-operated Sta. Ana public hospital. While other VIPs prefer medical care in private hospital, Isko stayed and proved the high quality of medical service in his district hospital.
The recent genome runs by DOH indicate Manila has the second highest presence of Delta variant at 78 percent (Pasig-98 percent, LasPinas-64 percent and QC-55 percent), but its moving average daily attack rate (ADAR) was only 26.41 (fourth lowest behind Marikina, Caloocan and Quezon city.
In terms of vaccination, Manila is quick acting with 782,505 fully vaccinated citizens or 73.40 percent against a total COMELEC voter population of 1,065,144 and 57.90 percent of DOH’ estimate of 1,351,487. About 1,265,473 citizens had their first dose or 93.64 percent of DOH population numbers and 118.81 percent of COMELEC. And in terms of ayuda, 380,820 families in Manila received P1,523,280,000 Social Amerlioration program (SAP) from the national government in a record time of just 16 days.
These successful efforts in detection, contact tracing, quarantine , free medical health care , vaccination , proactive procurement and continuous “ayuda” to its 1.2 M citizens is an overall example of how LGUs nationwide and even the Department of Health should emulate. Mayor isko’s pandemic response is paying off in his city.
But now comes this sudden, major policy shift of Malacanang , IATF and DOH to revert to GCQ with strict implementation of area-specific “granular lockdowns”. Honestly, these are raising questions. An all-time record high 22,415 new cases are scaring a lot of people and yet government is loosening restrictions. It was DOH that predicted 43,000 cases in NCR at end September. Are they just scaring us? But frankly, it looks like “trial and error” to me. Since government has acknowledged the failure of ECQ and MECQ against the DELTA variant, what’s next if these granular lockdowns again fail?
At hindsight, national government could have avoided the much feared and threatening collapse of our health care system if only they emulated Isko Moreno’s Luneta field hospital, or the Wuhan’ China’s 16 temporary COVID hospitals that helped to quickly end their pandemic..
And perhaps, if pandemic response remains the biggest election issue for our next leader beginning October and until May next year, then Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, with his successful strides, can be one of the leading presidentiables.
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