COVID-19 numbers understated, underreported, DOH admits

The recent Swab Cab event launched by the Office of the Vice President in Caloocan showed that many of those who availed of the free COVID-19 tests tested positive for coronavirus. Image from OVP/ Facebook

The recent Swab Cab event launched by the Office of the Vice President in Caloocan showed that many of those who availed of the free COVID-19 tests tested positive for coronavirus. Image from VP Leni Robredo / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Despite logging high number of coronavirus cases, the actual COVID-19 numbers remain to be understated, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Dr. Alethea De Guzman, director of the Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH, said that current COVID-19 numbers reported are predominantly based on RT-PCR tests, and not antigen tests.

Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, who was also infected by COVID-19, said that in her household, six members contracted the disease. Of this number, only two were confirmed through RT-PCR test while the rest tested positive through antigen test.

“Would you agree with me that the COVID numbers are really just understated?” Quimbo asked.

De Guzman agreed, saying other countries are also experiencing the same situation.

“Actually yes and even outside our country, it is underreported for several reasons. Number one, kapag hindi kayo nagpa-RT-PCR or hindi kayo na-antigen, hindi kayo masasama sa bilang,” De Guzman said.

(Number one, when you do not undergo RT-PCR or antigen test, you are not included in the count.)

“But there are also those who are asymptomatic, unknowingly infected. Hindi natin nade-detect kaya hindi rin sila nabibilang doon sa total confirmed cases natin (They are not detected so we cannot include them in our total confirmed cases),” she added.

The Philippines logged 37,070 additional coronavirus infections on Monday, pushing the country’s total case count to over 3.24 million, with over 290,000 currently sick with COVID-19.

While not the highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic, Monday’s caseload was still one of the highest recorded by the DOH, with a 46-percent positivity rate of the 77,410 tests conducted.

EDV

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