With the number of COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila rising, the OCTA Research Group warned Monday the country may record up to 4,000 daily cases in October.
“That’s for nationwide…We already have 3,800 [cases] just last Saturday. It’s possible we can reach up to 4,000,” OCTA Research Fellow Guido David told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Another expert said the country’s COVID-19 cases may hover around 2,000 daily until the end of the year.
Dr. Jomar Rabajante of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team said the numbers implied that the pandemic is nowhere near over.
“Currently, what we are projecting is that the number of cases will just hover around these numbers, around 2,000,” he told ANC’s “Rundown.”
“Even before, we are projecting that this kind of dynamic will happen even until the end of 2022.”
But the Department of Health said Monday the Philippines recorded 16,017 additional COVID-19 cases in the past week—10 percent lower compared to the previous week.
From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, the DOH bulletin said an average of 2,288 daily infections were recorded in the country. Of the new infections during the week, four or 0.03 percent were severe and critical.
David, however, said: “As we mentioned, it’s the ‘ber’ months now. We may see an increase in cases, but it may reach up to 2,000 per day in Metro Manila or so and maybe 4,000 nationwide like we see in the past few days. Hopefully, cases subside soon.”
The country recorded 2,117 new cases on Sunday with a 15.1% positivity rate. Of this number, 908 were from Metro Manila alone on Oct. 2.
David said from a 17.5% positivity rate in August, Metro Manila’s positivity rate is now at 19.1%, close to the 20% cut-off that would put it under a “very high positivity rate.”
Hospitalization rates remain low, however, David noted the return of face-to-face classes, the optional mask mandate, and waning immunity could be among the reasons behind the increasing cases, as well as the possible entry of a new subvariant that the country has not detected yet.
He called on the public not to be complacent and to continue wearing face masks to protect themselves.
“Although a face mask is optional, it doesn’t mean it’s not required. In areas where we are seeing an uptick in cases, we highly recommend the public to practice caution and add areas of protection,” he said.
Rabajante also noted that the country’s healthcare utilization rate for COVID-19 remained manageable. As coronavirus restrictions have loosened, he urged authorities to continue monitoring the pandemic situation.
“Let’s say we can suppress the cases, but our borders are open. People can still import COVID-19 to the Philippines, with possibly new variants,” he said.
The doctor called on the public to continue wearing masks, especially in crowded areas, even as the government dropped the outdoor mask rule in September.
He also warned that COVID-19 transmission is possible if classrooms are not well-ventilated. Millions of students returned to schools in August after 2 years of blended learning. Willie Casas