A health expert on Wednesday said the early signals of a COVID-19 resurgence have been observed, but none have been sustained so far.
“We’re seeing early signals of a surge. Over the past month, there were three instances of reversals of the decreasing growth rates of cases,” said Dr. John Wong of the IATF Technical Working Group.
“However, even if none has been sustained, we should take these as early warning signals and take the appropriate steps,” Wong said.
The Department of Health (DOH) has said that a slight increase in COVID-19 cases was observed in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Luzon.
However, Health Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea de Guzman said this cannot be attributed solely to the Omicron subvariant BA.4, which was detected on Sunday, and other emerging variants.
The country and most of its regions remain under the minimal risk case classification against COVID-19.
Wong said the shifting from cloth masks to high-filtration efficiency masks will reduce transmission.
“With the resumption of work and schools, people are starting to crowd indoors. The adoption of hybrid work arrangements is one way to reduce crowding in the workplace,” he said.
Wong also stressed the need for a faster vaccination pace.
Meanwhile, a government adviser said there is no need to administer a second COVID-19 booster shot just yet to those non-immunocompromised.
“We have good evidence that the first booster is effective. In fact, the incremental benefit from the second dose to the first booster is very big. And the incremental benefit between the first booster and the second booster is much smaller compared to that of between second dose and the first booster,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease expert with the DOH Technical Advisory Group.
Salvana said that while evidence shows that the second COVID-19 booster dose is fit for the elderly aged 60 years and above, there are new reformulated vaccines that are already in the pipeline that could yield better efficacy.
“It would be better if we just wait for those [newer vaccines] rather than stick with existing vaccines given that these people [who are not immunocompromised] react better to the vaccines compared with people who are immunocompromised or older,” he said.