Palace debunks DOH: PH still in first wave of pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is still in the first wave of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Malacañang said Thursday, refuting Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s declaration that the country is now facing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tayo po ngayon ay nasa (We are in the) first wave,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a televised Palace briefing.
However, Roque did not categorically called Duque’s statement wrong, but said that the Health chief only had a different interpretation of the data.
“Alam niyo po ang medisina, para ring mga abogado ‘yan, iisa lang ang batas namin (pero) iba-iba ang interpretasyon. Ganyan din po siguro sa medisina, iisa ang siyensya, iisa ang datos, iba ang basa,” Roque said.
(You know, the field of medicine is like being a lawyer, we have the law but there are different interpretations. Perhaps medicine is like that, we have one science, the same data, just a different reading.)
During a Senate hearing on the government’s COVID-19 response Wednesday, Duque disclosed that the Philippines is actually on the second wave of COVID-19 infection now, citing data from epidemiology experts.
Duque’s statement, however, was met with opposition from some senators, lawmakers, and even government officials, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte himself has repeatedly mentioned trying to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 cases, which his economic managers said would be too costly to address.
The DOH explained that the first wave of infection occurred in late January when the Philippines recorded its first three confirmed cases involving Chinese tourists from Wuhan, the origin of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It added that the second wave of more than 10,000 cases peaked at the end of March. It can be recalled that the DOH reported 583 new COVID-19 infections on March 31, the highest recorded new cases in a day.
Citing data from health professionals, Roque said the first wave started with the three COVID-19 positive Chinese nationals late January and went on until May when the Philippines started to report a decrease in coronavirus infections.
“Kaya nga po ang sinasabi natin bagamat hindi pa po fully flattened ang curve, nagsisimula na po ang pag-flatten ng curve,” he said.
(That’s why we say that although we haven’t fully flattened the curve, the curve is starting to flatten.)
The Palace official likewise claimed that the first three cases are too small to be considered an outbreak wave.
He also apologized to the public for the alarm and confusion caused by Duque’s statement.
“Whether be it a wavelet or a first wave, ang katunayan naman po, ang importante maiwasan natin ang second wave na mas maraming kasong magkakasakit (what is important is we prevent a second wave that would bring a more cases of infection),” he said.
But Roque assured that the differences in opinion among government officials are not a cause for concern.
“Medyo sintunado lang po siguro ang isa pero okay naman po ang orchestra” he said.
(One is just out of tune but the orchestra, in general, is okay.)
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