You’ve been cooped up at home for over two months and doing your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions will eventually ease, and with more cases popping up each day, a second wave of infections seems likely.
But what if we told you the second wave is already here?
According to Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, the second wave of the respiratory disease is already happening in the Philippines.
Duque said this on May 20, during the resumption of the Senate hearing on the government’s COVID-19 response and effort.
As second waves have hit countries like South Korea, Hong Kong, and China, it’s important to know what could happen to the Philippines should a second wave hit the country.
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. asked Duque what the government plans to do should a second wave of COVID-19 infections come.
“Palagi pong nababanggit ‘yung second wave of infections, paano po ba natin masasabi na nasa second wave na tayo? Considering the doomsday scenario being painted ‘pag nagkaroon na ng second wave, ano po ang dapat natin gawin para hindi tayo dumating sa puntong ‘yon,” Revilla said.
Duque replied: “Actually nasa second wave tayo, ‘yung first wave natin nagumpisa, batay po ito sa ating mag batikang epidemiologist, na ang first wave natin happened sometime in January.”
The first wave Duque referred to was the first three COVID-19 cases in the country. To recall, the first cases were 3 COVID-positive Chinese citizens from Wuhan.
“Nung nagkaroon po tayo ng tatlong kaso ng mga Chinese nationals from Wuhan. ‘Yun po ay kinikilalang first wave. Maliit lang na wave,” Duque explained.
“Pero ngayon nasa second wave tayo at ginagawa po natin ang lahat para nga ma-flatten yung epidemic curve at para nang sa ganon ay magkaron po tayo ng sapat na panahon na mapaunland ta maitaas ang ating kakayahan sa sistemang pangkalusugan. Ramping up the health system’s capacity,” he added.
Metro Manila shifted from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) on May 16, and it’s expected to last until May 31. Under MECQ, industries are allowed to reopen and resume operations in order to prevent the country’s economy from breaking.
MECQ also sees ease in restrictions, with workers being allowed to leave their homes to return to work. However, some forms of mass transport are prohibited, while others can resume on limited capacity.
As people flow out of their homes, a spike in infections could happen, and bring about another wave of infections.
Following Duque’s count, the Philippines may encounter a third wave of COVID-19 infections.