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Monday, June 17, 2024

COVID rate rising in NCR, ‘likely’ to spread — OCTA

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Mask use urged as virus ‘still all over the place’

The COVID-19 positivity rate in the National Capital Region seems to be peaking, but infections were likely to spread to the provinces, OCTA Research fellow Guido David said on Saturday.

The Metro Manila positivity rate jumped to 22.4% on Thursday from the 18.4% recorded on Dec. 14, David said in a GMA News report.

This developed as health reform advocate Tony Leachon urged the government to impose a two-week mandatory wearing of face masks, as he observed that COVID-19 is still “all over the place.”

Earlier, infectious diseases expert and Philippine College of Physicians President Dr. Rontgene Solante said a rise of COVID cases was expected this holiday season due to the increase of gatherings and parties following the relaxed pandemic protocols.

While hospitalization and ICU admission rates remained low, Solante said the spread of influenza-like infections and the possible presence of the highly contagious COVID-19 JN.1 variant remained a threat to the public.

The Department of Health’s last COVID-19 bulletin reported 557 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total nationwide caseload to 4,132,200.

The National Capital Region had the most recorded new cases within the past 14 days at 2,293 cases in total, while Quezon City was the top city at 645 cases in total.

“COVID is increasing because President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. just recovered, Mayor Vico Sotto and a lot of personalities as well. It’s all over the place,” Leachon told ANC’s Headstart.

A former adviser of the government’s national task force on the coronavirus disease, Leachon said severe and critical cases of COVID-19 are also on the rise.

“So we need really right now time for the government, on a transitory period, to impose a mandatory face mask in the next 2 weeks given the escalation… and [us] going into the holiday season,” he suggested.

While the fatality rate is low, Leachon said he is more concerned with the other effects of the coronavirus.

“I’m concerned more on the quality of life, the morbidity, isolation, plus the occurrence of long COVID syndrome and we cannot afford this kind of situation considering were not actively vaccinating right now,” he said.

Leachon said the public should not be worried about the new COVID variant of interest JN.1.

“The risk is actually low in terms of public health concern, we’re not worried about mortality,” he said.

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