‘Coronavirus cases in PH may peak at 75,000 in 3 months’
MANILA, Philippines — Local and international health experts have warned that the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may infect as much as 75,000 people in the Philippines in the next three months if the virus is not contained.
Speaking at a “public” press briefing aired by state-run PTV on Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the figure was the estimate of experts from the Department of Health, and World Health Organization, including Filipino epidemiologists.
However, Vergeire said it is still possible to “flatten” the projection through appropriate interventions such as the strict social distancing measure.
“In two to 3 months, it can reach that peak kung saan 75,000 ang pwedeng magka infection. Pero we can flatten this curve, meaning kaya natin pigilan ang ganitong numero … if only we can implement stringent measures tulad ng social distancing,” Vergeire said.
At a certain point, the health official said the virus can reach a reproductive rate wherein a person carrying the COVID-19 virus can infect two individuals in a single interaction.
“Ito po ay nakuha natin base po sa statistics na meron tayo ngayon among all cases across the globe. Sinasabi po na pwedeng magkaroon gn reproductive rate ang virus na one person (who) can transmit to two persons in just one sitting,” she explained.
As of date, there are 193 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, with 14 deaths and 7 recoveries.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 180,000 people in 159 countries and territories.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the virus that causes COVID-19 as SARS-CoV-2. It is believed to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan, China.
The virus, now considered by WHO as a pandemic, causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but experts said that older adults with preexisting health conditions were more vulnerable to the coronavirus, particularly those aged over 60-years-old.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.
President Duterte has placed the entire Philippines under a state of calamity for six months due to the virus.
He has also placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in a bid to prevent the further spread of the contagion.
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