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COVID-19 cases in PH could reach 40K by June 30 — UP research team

/ 11:53 AM June 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines could reach 40,000 by June 30, according to a team of researchers and scientists at the University of the Philippines on Thursday.

The projection is based on current trends on the COVID-19 data, Professor Guido David of the University of the Philippines Institute of Mathematics, said in a press briefing hosted by the Department of Health.

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“Right now, ‘yung projection namin, ginamit lang namin ‘yung R0 (pronounced R-naught) na 1.2 sa Philippines. So ‘yung projection actually is nasa 40,000 cases by June 30,” said David, who is part of the UP OCTA Research, which issues forecast report on COVID-19.

The reproduction number (R0) is used to measure the transmission potential of a disease. It is the average number of secondary infections produced by a typical case of an infection.

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“In-assume lang namin na 1.2. Kung bumaba ‘yung R0—which is bumababa pa—kasi yung NCR less than 1 ‘yung R0 so pag i-project natin ‘yan, mas konti naman ‘yung cases,” David explained.

(We just assumed the figure by using the R0 of 1.2. If the R0 decreases—and it is now decreasing—because we can see in NCR, the R0 is less than 1 so if we project the figure, it could be lower.)

As of Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was at 23,732, with 4,895 who have recovered and 1,027 who died of the disease.

In March, the Department of Health said that the coronavirus disease may infect as much as 75,000 people in the Philippines in the next three months, or until June if the virus is not contained, based on the estimates of experts and epidemiologists consulted by the DOH, and from the World Health Organization.

‘Winning the war’

Despite this new forecast, David noted that a lot of cities in the country have been “winning the war” against the pandemic, saying that the “main battle ground” only remains in Metro Manila and Cebu.

David also reminded the public that the mathematical methods the group uses in making forecasts on COVID-19 are “just estimates of reality.”

“Kapag may forecast kami, hindi naman namin sinasabi na ‘yan talaga ang lalabas. Nakadepend siya sa factors and nakadepend siya sa data na pinoprovide ng DOH,” he said.

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(When we have a forecast, we don’t say that it will be the actual number. It just depends on certain factors and on data provided by the DOH.)

Meanwhile, Ranjit Singh Rye, assistant professor at UP Department of Political Science and is also part of the research team, said the group does not recommend any loosening of quarantine restrictions unless there is enough data to support such a move.

“When the government decides, we all understand and appreciate and it does not just look at the health concerns. It looks at other factors such as the economy, the psychosocial well-being of citizens. What we caution the government (against) is to move without data,” said Rye.

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TAGS:  Guido David, DoH, UP
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