A study conducted by experts from the University of the Philippines – Diliman said the Philippines may see as much as 85,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of July.
The new projection was based on the virus’ current reproduction rate and on the assumption that government intervention and action would not change dramatically.
The 85,000-case projection is higher than the previous 60,000 cases by July 31, as the COVID-19 transmission has increased.
The UP professors and researchers said the current reproduction rate is at 1.75 and increasing.
Last June, the reproduction number was only at 1.28.
Any number more than 1 means the virus is spreading. Anything below 1 means we’re flattening the curve. The higher the number, the more infections could occur.
As of July 17, 4 p.m., the Philippines has already exceeded 60,000 cases with 63,001 cases, 21,748 recoveries, and 1,660 deaths.
According to the researchers, the National Capital Region has seen an increase in the number of cases, in positivity rate, and even in the use of hospital resources. This surge could be something that overwhelms hospitals.
Metro Manila is to remain under general community quarantine, or GCQ, until July 31. By that time, the area could see 40,000 cases by the end of July, and over 80,000 by the end of August.
Shifting back to modified enhanced community quarantine, or MECQ, could make the reproduction number go down to about 1.1 by the end of July with 35,000 cases, and down to 1 by the end of August with 56,000 cases only.
According to the World Health Organization, the recommended positivity rate is 5%, but Metro Manila’s went from 6% in May to 12% in June.
So how do we stop the reproduction number and positivity rate from increasing?
The researchers recommended two things: stay with GCQ but with added aggressive localized lockdowns and amp up testing, tracing and isolation efforts; or we shift back to MECQ with stricter restrictions.
Downgrading an area’s quarantine classification also poses a risk and could mean more cases than the country’ hospitals can handle.
"Whatever quarantine decisions the government chooses to implement, we continue to reiterate our past recommendations, front and center of the strategy against COVID-19 has always hinged on increased testing, tracing, and the establishment of more quarantine and other isolation facilities especially in hotspots within the region," they said.
The research team that conducted the study is composed of Guido David, Ranjit Singh Rye, Ma. Patricia Agbulos, and Rev. Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, along with Erwin Alampay, Eero Rosini Brillantes, Bernhard Egwolf, Rodrigo Angelo Ong, Michael Tee, and Benjamin Vallejo, Jr.