Sun Star Bacolod

BQ.1 may cause spike in Covid-19 cases


OCTA Research fellow Doctor Guido David has warned over the possible increase in Covid-19 cases in the country following the detection of Omicron BQ.1, a sublineage of the highly transmissi­ble BA.5 subvariant.

Before the announceme­nt of the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, November 25, 2022, that 14 cases of Omicron BQ.1 were detected in the country during the latest genome sequencing conducted by the Philippine Genome Center Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, David already said that there is already a spike in Covid-19 positivity rate in Metro Manila that could indicate the increase in cases and the start of another wave.

David said from 7.4 percent, the weekly positivity rate in the region went up to 9.2 percent as of November 22.

As of November 19, Camarines Sur, Isabela, La Union, Tarlac, Aklan, Benguet and Misamis Oriental registered a “very high” Covid-19 positivity rate, which ranges from 20 to nearly 50 percent.

David said currently, 50 percent of the Covid-19 cases in the United States as well as in the European region were Omicron BQ.1, although there is no significan­t increase in the number of deaths and hospitaliz­ation in the said countries as most of the cases were mild or asymptomat­ic.

He cited the importance of getting Covid-19 vaccinatio­n as a protection against severe infection, noting that the characteri­stics of BQ.1 are similar to BA.5 and XBB subvariant­s that tend to be highly infectious and immune evasive.

“Huwag tayong dapat maging kampante, kasi nga yun nga unang una kahit bakunado tayo meron pa rin tinatamaan ng severe na Covid-19. Depende sa tao yan, iba-ibang cases at syempre kahit tayo ay bakunado at mild, lang pwede rin natin madala yung sakit kasi pwede tayo maging carrier,” said David.

(We should not be complacent because even if we are vaccinated, some people could still be affected by severe Covid-19. It really depends on the person. Even if we are vaccinated or only have mild symptoms, we can still be carriers of the virus.)

David said the most common symptoms of BQ.1 include exhaustion, fever, cough, congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle aches or headache, and loss of smell is no longer as common.

As of November 26, the country had a total of 18, 348 active Covid-19 cases.

The seven-day average Covid-19 cases from November 17 to 23 was 6,705, lower than the 7,094 cases during the week prior.


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