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Have We Really Flattened the Curve? No, We Haven't

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III retracts his statement.
by Clara Rosales
Jul 15, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Four months into the COVID-19 quarantine and you would know by now that the ideal outcome is to “flatten the curve,” or to reach a peak with the number or positive cases, plateau, and eventually have that line fall to the bottom. At most, we’re zigzagging, but we haven’t exactly flattened the curve just yet.

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said otherwise. Originally. But then he took it back.

On July 15, Duque claimed the Philippines already flattened the curve—two days after we recorded 2,000 new cases on July 13.

“We have successfully flattened the curve since April. The reason for arriving at this conclusion is longer case doubling time of COVID-19,” Duque said at a forum.

“The mortality doubling time is now longer and is now [considered] moderate risk classification,” he said.

But, as we mentioned, Duque took it back and said the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

Continue reading below ↓

“Paumanhin po sa confusion na resulta ng aking earlier statement, nalito lang po ako sa tanong. Iyong longer case doubling time which is eight days, ibig sabihin po nito, nailiko na, nasimulan na nating nailiko o naikurba na natin ang epidemic curve nung imposition ng ECQ noong March,” Duque said.

“Now, we are seeing an increase in cases dahil sa expanded testing and community transmission as we allow more movement of people, dahil nagluwag na po tayo ng restrictions,” Duque explained.

To recall, Metro Manila shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) last June 1. This quarantine classification sees ease in restrictions, allowing 75% of the workforce to report for work physically, as long as social distancing protocols and health guidelines were followed.

Duque cited Iran, Serbia, and Japan, saying that those countries also saw a spike in COVID-19 cases following the easing of restrictions.

“This is expected, as we open up the economy. What is important is we maintain the cases at manageable level para ang ating health care system at health workers ay hindi ma-overwhelm,” Duque said.

Continue reading below ↓

This isn’t the first Duque said something and took it back.

Last May, Duque met criticism after saying the country was already on its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The DOH clarified that we’re still on the first wave.

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