March 15, 2021
MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines might record up to 8,000 daily new COVID-19 cases by the end of the month, and 18,000 to 20,000 by mid-April if the current reproduction rate does not change, the OCTA Research Group said Sunday.
In Metro Manila, daily virus cases could reach 5,000 to 6,000 by end of March and 14,000 by mid-April, according to OCTA Research fellow Guido David.
The projection is based on a 1.9 reproduction rate, or the number of people infected by a virus patient, David told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Hindi tayo nananakot. Sinasabi lang natin, 'yan ang science. Wala namang fear-mongering sa science. 'Yung projections namin, nagkatotoo na. In fact, mas mabilis na siya compared sa original naming projection. Kaya, nag-readjust ng projection," he said.
(We're not trying to scare people. We're just telling them that's what science says. There's no fear-mongering in science. Our projections had come true. In fact, the virus spread is faster than our original projection, so we readjusted it.)
The OCTA Research Group earlier projected that daily virus cases in the entire country would reach 5,000 by end of the month, and 3,000 in Metro Manila, home to about a tenth of the Philippines' population.
Metro Manila mayors have enforced localized lockdowns in a bid to prevent virus transmission. Monday marks the first anniversary of the imposition of community quarantine in the capital region.
The Philippines on Saturday reported 5,000 fresh cases, the highest in nearly 7 months, raising the country’s total number of infections to 616,611.
The Department of Health confirmed the detection of a COVID-19 variant first found in the country, which the Philippine Genome Center believes "developed locally."
The DOH also announced the detection of the more transmissible Brazil variant, or the P.1, in a Filipino patient who had returned from Brazil.
David warned that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases may overwhelm the country's hospitals again and fears that if stricter quarantine measures are reimposed, the country's economy will again suffer.
The Philippines began its vaccination program against COVID-19 nearly three weeks ago, using products developed by Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
David notes that based on the experience of other countries, COVID-19 cases begin to drop after vaccinating 25 to 50 percent of their population.
"In fact, sa Indonesia ngayon, bumababa na yung kaso nila. Mas konti na 'yung daily cases nila kaysa atin. So, importante talaga ma-roll out natin 'yung vaccine," he said.
(In fact, cases in Indonesia now are getting fewer. Their daily cases are fewer than ours. So, it's really important to roll out the vaccine.)