COVID situation vastly improves
NCR reproduction rate down to 1.01; DOH sees artificial decline
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reproduction rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) is now down to 1.01, from 1.90 before the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in late March.
“The reproduction number as of yesterday [April 20] is 1.01. So it is [now] essentially 1. Nagkaroon tayo ng (We had a) one-week negative growth rate, actually two weeks negative growth rate in NCR, based on our weekly tracking,” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a ONE News PH interview.
“Maliit lang naman (It's only a little). It decreased by 7
percent but this will [show] that the momentum has possibly changed. Pababa na ‘yung momentum and hopefully kaya natin ma-sustain ‘yan para matuloy-tuloy 'yan. (The momentum is going down and hopefully we can sustain that so that we can continue to try to control the cases). And then we can take off maybe, possibly loosening some restrictions,” he added.
David reiterated that when loosening restrictions, the government must keep in mind the primary transmission mode of the virus.
“That’s the way to do it, that’s how we balance economy and public health,” he said.
Artificial downtrend Although there has been a recent decrease in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire believes this is still artificial.
“For the past two weeks, you can really see a decline in cases. However, we must be careful in interpreting the data because we still have this artificial decline in cases. We cannot say yet that it is conclusive,” Vergeire said in a virtual forum Wednesday, April 21.
“We believe the decline is still artificial. Let's wait for more days. Maybe next week, we can already see the effects of the ECQ and MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine),”s he added.
She also explained that there were a number of laboratories that were non- operational last Sunday and that there were also several non-reporting labs.
“Their average output per day, we computed to see if this has affected our numbers, and it has affected. Thus, the decline has been artificial,” said Vergeire.
David, meanwhile, said the full effect of the MECQ will be known by the end of April.
“It’s just a little over one week of MECQ and I think we have to give it a little more time. Maybe, by end of April will be sufficient, which is next week, we will know the full effect of MECQ. If the momentum or direction
does not change I think we can confidently say na na-sustain natin ‘yung (that we have sustained our) gains during this MECQ and we can look at our options,” David explained.
However, he pointed out that although trends have improved, hospital capacity for COVID-19 cases will remain full at the moment.
“Marami pa ring cases even though nag-decrease na ‘yung average number sa NCR. (There are still many cases even though the average number in NCR has decreased). Two weeks ago it was 5,000 plus [cases], now we’re averaging 4,300,” David said.
“That’s still a significant number of cases every day and if we factor in ‘yung magiging severe and critical based on our projections medyo mataas pa rin ‘yung number of hospital admissions na makikita natin for the next few weeks (those that will be severe and critical based on our projections, the number of hospital admissions that we see for the next few weeks is still relatively high),” he added.