DOH warns of ‘higher numbers’ when COVID-19 cases peak by end-January
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday warned of a higher number of coronavirus infections that what was seen during the surge of case during the onslaught of the Delta variant last year that saw daily cases reaching 20,000.
Speaking during an interview with CNN Philippines’ “The Source,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is projecting the rise in COVID-19 cases to peak by the end of January, with a notice that there may be “more than the number we saw during the Delta peak.”
“For now, we have initial projections which state that at the end of January, cases will peak,” Vergeire said. She opted not to disclose the projected number of cases since DOH “assumptions are still not very tight and complete.”
Earlier, a DOH official said that the spike in cases may have been driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
“These are rough estimates…we still need to finalize our numbers. What I can give the public as an information right now would be that within initial estimates, the assumption would be based on the calculations that Omicron is eight times more transmissible than Delta and that the peak will happen by the end of January,” said Vergeire.
“It will be more than the number we saw during the Delta peak,” she added.
Meanwhile, Vergeire reiterated that the DOH is “now assuming that Omicron is in our communities.”
However, she stressed that there is still a need to establish “definitive” evidence to officially declare the local transmission of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Philippines.
“The assumption is there because for us to be able to declare that there is local transmission, we need definitive evidence and we need this confirmation coming from our Philippine Genome Center through whole genome sequencing,” the Department of Health (DOH) official said.
The DOH earlier confirmed three local cases of the Omicron variant—one from Metro Manila and two from Bicol region—and another seven imported cases of the said variant last week.
All local cases have been tagged as recovered.
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