COVID-19 cases now as high as peak in July 2020, says DOH | Inquirer News

COVID-19 cases now as high as peak in July 2020, says DOH

/ 01:46 PM March 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has reached the same peak that the country saw in July last year, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

“I think a week ago I was flagging that ‘yung (the) number of cases getting ill in the past weeks were almost at the peak of last year. Yesterday it’s now at the same peak,” Dr. Alethea de Guzman, OIC Director III of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said in an online media forum.


“Ibig sabihin kung gaano karami ‘yung nagiging pinakamataas na dami ng pagkakasakit (this means the highest number of patients who were ill) last July, now it’s at the same peak,” she added.


De Guzman said that for this March, the country is reporting new cases that are 2.5 times higher compared to that in the beginning of January.

She added that even Metro Manila “also reached last year’s peak” of COVID-19 cases.

“Individually, there are also NCR cities na lumagpas na sa peak nila o di kaya abot na rin ang peak nila last year (that recorded cases that are the same or more than their peak least year),” she said.

For Central Visayas, Bohol is showing a “steep rise” of cases, while a “gradual slowdown” is being observed in Cebu province and the Tri-Cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, according to de Guzman.

The country has so far recorded a total of 177 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, 90 cases of the B.1.351 variant from South Africa, and a case of the P.1 variant from Brazil. Experts said these variants have been associated with higher transmissibility of the virus, with initial studies also showing that the South African variant may be resistant to some vaccines.

“If these become the dominant variants, cases will increase by 28 times instead of just three times after a month,” de Guzman warned.


She also noted that while these variants of concern have led to the spike in cases, the DOH has already seen the upward trend of cases in the country even before their detection.

She said even cities without the variants have experienced an increase in cases, and that other factors such as mobility and non-adherence to health protocols are driving the surge.

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“It’s not a question of what else should be done but how correctly and consistently should we do these prevention and control measures,” said de Guzman, adding that it may take two to three weeks to see if measures being done by the government will lead to a significant decline in cases.

The country has so far confirmed a total of 631,320 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, composed of 57,736 active cases, 560,736 recoveries, and 12,848 deaths. The highest additional cases so far this year was logged on March 15 when the DOH reported 5,404 new infections.


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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS:  B.1.1.7 variant, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19

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