COVID-19 cases still below 1,000 amid new Omicron variant threat | Inquirer News
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LOW FIGURES MAY BE ‘CALM BEFORE STORM’–OCTA

COVID-19 cases still below 1,000 amid new Omicron variant threat

/ 04:49 AM November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country has had a daily average of less than 1,000 COVID-19 cases for a week now, an independent monitoring team pointed out, even as it also noted a rise in daily fatalities.

This has been the trend in COVID-19 figures amid the threat of a new variant of the novel coronavirus which so far has not been reported in the Philippines.

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According to the OCTA Research Group, a 29-percent decrease in daily infections last week (Nov. 21 to Nov. 27) has led to an average 954 cases — the lowest since July last year — from an average 1,346 cases the previous week (Nov. 14 to Nov. 20).

In Metro Manila, where most infections are reported, the weekly average is 241, OCTA said.

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On the other hand, an average 186 COVID-19 deaths were reported daily last week, although this was down from 233 daily fatalities the previous week.

“The high number of deaths relative to the number of new cases is likely due to late reports of deaths,” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Sunday.

Low incidence rate, too

The Department of Health (DOH) said most deaths were not recent, as they were only being reported now, “after final validation.”

Transmission of the coronavirus is also on the decline based on the reproduction number of 0.34, which indicates that less than one person is infected by a virus-positive person.

The incidence rate, or average daily attack rate, has also been low, currently at 1 new case per day per 100,000 population.

“If the trends continue, new cases are projected to decrease to less than 500 per day by the December holidays,” David said.

Yet at the same time he warned that the low numbers were “like the calm before the storm, when you fear a really bad storm is brewing,” due to the detection abroad of the Omicron variant.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) called Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa, a “variant of concern,” as its virulence, transmissibility and reaction to vaccines are not yet known.

After the Omicron variant has also been detected in parts of Europe and Hong Kong, several countries have begun to shut their borders.

There have been calls here as well for vigilance, given the variant’s possible entry in the country. (See related story on this page).

Virus case update

The DOH reported 838 new COVID-19 infections, the lowest this year. This pushed the cumulative total to 2,831,807 cases. The department’s bulletin on Sunday reported 156 more deaths, including 117 people who were earlier tagged as recoveries. This brought the death toll to 48,361, or 1.71 percent of the total cases.

The number of active cases, or people who are still infected, went further down to 16,630, the lowest since June 7 last year.

Nearly 45 percent of these cases are moderate (23.36 percent), severe (15.2 percent) or critical (6.5 percent).

Mild cases account for 47.8 percent, and asymptomatic, 7.1 percent.

Of 34,241 people tested last Friday, 2.4 percent, or 822, were found positive for the virus.

Only 27 percent of the country’s ICU (intensive care unit) beds, 26 percent of isolation beds and 16 percent of ward beds were in use, together with 16 percent of ventilators nationwide. Two laboratories did not submit their data on Friday.

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TAGS: COVID-19 Omicron variant, octa research group, PH COVID-19 cases
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