The reported slowdown in COVID-19 infections the past few weeks has raised many to the level of self-congratulation and a kind of conceit that is enabling them to go out of their homes and discard the basic health protocols.
Instance, many flocked recently to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach and other areas with eased lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila, where 13 million of the country’s 110 million population live.
This dash to crowd-gathering places has prompted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to warn against the possibility of a fresh wave of cases in the next few months, calling these as “super spreader events” which could raise the possibility of a surge in the next four to six months.
There were 5,823 new cases Friday, bringing the total number of infected to 2.48 million in the Philippines.
Nationwide, 58 percent of ICU beds, 45 percent of isolation beds, 43 percent of ward beds, and 42 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 52 percent of ICU beds, 37 percent of isolation beds, 40 percent of ward beds, and 37 percent of ventilators, were in use.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire herself said the alert level for the National Capital Region could be lowered if the number of infections continues to decline.
In an interview on CNN Philippines, she said the NCR’s current seven-day moving average in COVID-19 cases was 1,156.
Vergeire said a less than 500 average, like in the months before the case surge in March and April, was a “comfortable number” for the lowering of the alert level.
The independent OCTA Research Group also said COVID-19 cases in the Philippines were expected to decrease to pre-Delta surge levels by the end of October amid the continued decrease in reproduction numbers.
In a tweet, OCTA fellow Guido David noted that reproduction numbers both nationwide and in the National Capital Region were continuing to go down.
But the reduction in infections and deaths notwithstanding, we urge the public to continue being on guard.
The unseen virus is dangerous. It is still there lying in wait for the next prey.