The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the recent increase in Covid19 infections, most notably in Metro Manila, is indicative of a spike, not a second wave.
According to WHO Representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the country is yet to completely flatten the curve, and is thus, still facing its first wave of infections.
The number of daily cases of Covid19, although lower than the average 6,000 per day at the pandemic’s height last year, is still considered high at an average of 3,000 per day.
Abeyasinghe also stated that the introduction of new strains of the Covid19 virus may be playing a factor in the spike, but is not the sole reason.
Studies have shown that the newer variants, such as the UK and South African ones, have a higher transmission rate because it causes a higher viral load in infected individuals.
What the country may be experiencing from the new variants, is a clustering of infections within households. Instead of one or several individuals, every home member is infected.
Abeyasinghe implored Filipinos to strictly comply with public health measures such as the use of face masks and shields, and proper social distancing.
President Duterte echoed that same call for health measure compliance, as well as cooperation, but for Filipinos to also trust government officials, such as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. The president also attributed the recent spike to quarantine fatigue, and holiday gatherings.
Sec. Duque stated that the infection rate over the past two weeks in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas, has grown. The cities of Pasay and Malabon are now in critical risk, while Makati, Navotas, and San Juan are now at high risk.
The health secretary has stated that health authorities are working to ensure that hospitals have the capacity to handle more Covid19 cases.
Meanwhile, research group OCTA, composed of individuals from the University of the Philippines (UP) and University of Santo Tomas (UST), stated that Covid19 cases in Metro Manila have surpassed their projections.
If the infection rate is not lowered, then the country may face double the number of cases recorded at the pandemic’s peak last year, the group said.
“That’s why we are sounding the alarm. It’s very urgent [and] we do not want this trend to continue. Even if we say there is low mortality rate, it could still overwhelm the health-care [system],” OCTA fellow Guido David stated.
The group is in favor of implementing lockdown in areas with rising cases, and recommends reinstating curfew hours, and cutting workforce and restaurant capacity.
In the medical education sector, Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Inc. Associate President Manuel Dayrit announced that in-person internship rotations would be suspended, amidst the increasing infections.
As of March 10, the country now has a total of 603,308 cases, with 44,470 currently active, 546,293 in total recovered, and has had 12,545 deaths.