COVID-19 count: DOH to stress ‘active,’ not actual cases
MANILA, Philippines — The administration is revising its communication strategy in the COVID-19 crisis and is now highlighting the number of active cases instead of the number of actual cases reported in the country, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
Speaking in a meeting with President Duterte on Tuesday, Roque said the new strategy was one of the “major changes” in the government’s communication plan.
He said the government was now highlighting the number of active COVID-19 cases because “nonactive cases don’t matter.”
“The number of cases will really increase while there is no vaccine. What is important is to know how many active cases there are,” Roque said.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,539 additional infections, taking the national total to 50,359. Of that total, 36,457 were active cases, the DOH said.
Also being highlighted is the number of recoveries, he said.
“We are emphasizing that the number of deaths is getting smaller,” he said.
The Philippines’ positivity rate is 7 percent, lower than the 10-percent benchmark of the World Health Organization (WHO), he said.
Roque also said the government would show data that its programs to tackle the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, had been effective.
The mortality rate in the country is going down and is now 2.9 percent, he said, noting that the global average is 5.5 percent.
Roque also said the government would remind the people that had it not imposed the lockdown in March, 3.6 million people would have been infected, as estimated by the University of the Philippines.
“So even if the number is rising and we are now at 40,000 plus, had we not taken action early, 3.6 million [people] would have gotten sick,” he said.
New infections have been topping 1,500 in recent days, hitting more than 2,000 on July 5 and July 6.
The surge has pushed Metro Manila hospitals to near capacity, prompting the DOH to require them to allot 30 percent of their beds for COVID-19 cases and be ready to add 20 percent more should it become necessary.
Of the 2,539 additional cases the DOH reported on Wednesday, 1,922 were patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in the last three days. The remainder, or 617, were patients who tested positive four days ago or earlier.
The DOH also reported that 202 more patients had recovered, bringing the total number of COVID-19 survivors to 12,588. The death toll, however, increased to 1,314 with the deaths of five more patients. Two of them died in June.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters on Wednesday that during a meeting on Monday, the DOH reminded Metro Manila hospital administrators that they could refer mild and asymptomatic COVID cases to quarantines to avoid reaching capacity.
The strategy runs in line with the DOH’s policy of giving priority to severe and critical cases. Vergeire, however, said it did not authorize the hospitals to turn away patients not seriously ill. —WITH A REPORT FROM JOVIC YEE
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