Holiday season COVID-19 cases in NCR may spike to 4,000 a day, DOH warns
MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila may record at least 4,000 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections a day during and after the holiday season, which could also overwhelm health care facilities, Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vegeire said on Thursday.
Vergeire cited the projections from the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler For Early Detection of Diseases and UP OCTA teams confirmed that a surge in COVID-19 cases is likely during and after the holidays.
“Cases in NCR [National Capital Region] may reach upwards to 4,000 per day which may overwhelm our health system capacity to upwards of 80 percent utilization by the end of January if we don’t act aggressively to prevent the transmission now,” said Vergeire during an online press conference.
Vergeire also noted that there is a risk in transmission in malls, shopping areas, and churches because physical distancing is usually overlooked despite the wearing face masks and face shields.
“Although people are seen wearing masks, it is very clear that physical distancing rules are not being followed anymore. Also, crowding affects ventilation. Although they are in open space, there are still many [people] around which increases the risk of transmission,” Vergeire said.
“It is important to remember that we need to follow all the components of minimum public health standards to reduce the transmission risk,” Vergeire added.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned of the “beginning of surge” of COVID-19 cases since in Metro Manila and oyther parts of the country.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines logged a total of 451,839 COVID-19 infections, including 418,867 recoveries and 8,812 deaths.