Senator quizzes DOH on ‘flattening the curve’
“WE HAVE to be honest. Dapat kumpleto at reliable ang mga datos.”
This was the statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros during Wednesday’s Senate Committee of the Whole as she questioned the Department of Health’s claim that the Philippines is ‘flattening the country’s coronavirus curve’, especially that confirmed COVID-19 cases have grown to 12,942 as of today, May 20, 2020, and the country is not reaching its testing target of 20,000 per day.
“Gaano ka-reliable ang datos na naging batayan para masabing na-flatten na ang curve kung ‘yung demonstrated testing capacity natin ay parang off-target at paiba-iba kada linggo?” the senator asked government representatives on the country’s response towards COVID-19.
Hontiveros cited a study from Johns Hopkins University stating that “flattening the curve involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next. This helps prevent healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.” The senator said that if that decrease in cases is how we can measure the ‘flattening of the curve’, then the DOH should also communicate if we are indeed decreasing the number of cases daily.
“It’s a simple measure that is also easily understandable by many. We need to be consistent in our data, and more importantly, in the data we relay to the public. Napaka-confusing na pa-iba-iba ang lengguwahe at measures of success natin,” the senator said.
Hontiveros also stressed that consistent and accurate data will better assist the government in its decision-making. “Lahat dapat ng ginagawa natin laban sa COVID-19 ay ayon sa tama at reliable na mga datos. We need to ground our policies on the real situation,” she urged.
The Senator also expressed concern on the possibility of another strict lockdown. “Hindi pwedeng mag-ease tayo ng lockdown pagkatapos balik na naman kasi mali pala ang ating basa sa sitwasyon — because we did not test enough people, because we did not meet our target of 20,000 tests per day,” she said.
“Mahirap sabihin na we have flattened the curve without real and reliable data. We have to be honest: have we really? Let’s be clear on our benchmarks and indicators," she added. “We cannot afford a second or third wave, lalo na kung hindi pa pala tayo tapos sa first wave,” Hontiveros concluded.