Octa laments underreported COVID-19 cases due to exclusion of antigen test results
MANILA, Philippines — Think tank Octa Research on Thursday urged the inclusion of positive results from antigen tests in the government’s tally of coronavirus cases, pointing out that leaving these out of the count has resulted in many underreported COVID-19 cases.
Prof. Guido David compared the testing being done in Metro Manila, which has reached 100,000 since the start of this recent surge, as against the 300 during the Delta surge in August 2021, and 400 during the first Omicron surge last January.
“Currently, testing has not risen above baseline levels of 100, as more people are using antigen tests. [As a result,] the number of cases is under-reported,” said David in a post on Twitter.
NCR Testing per day per 100k. In January, testing was as high as 400. During the delta surge (Aug 2021) NCR testing reached 300. Currently, testing has not risen above baseline levels of 100, as more people are using antigen tests. The number of cases is under-reported. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/jJEZrCBAIZFEATURED STORIES
— Dr. Guido David (@iamguidodavid) July 28, 2022
RT-PCR tests may have become incidental, he explained in a town hall forum with other health experts on Thursday, while antigen tests are becoming more common, “for travelers, visitors, and people getting tested before undergoing procedures.”
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that it does not count results taken from its antigen tests in its daily tally. Only RT-PCR tests are counted in the government’s official COVID-19 numbers.
“We’re not saying there should be more testing necessarily since there is antigen testing being conducted, but we are hoping that data from antigen tests could be incorporated at least into the numbers being reported,” said David.
The DOH previously said that it does not count antigen testing in its official numbers because not all of its positive results could be considered qualified for inclusion in the official case count, saying false positives are more common in antigen testing.
As of July 27, the total COVID-19 caseload in the country was at 3,760,488 nationwide, with 27,754 active cases, 3,672,040 recoveries, and 60,694 deaths.
These results reflected the 20,896 individuals who were recorded to have been tested for COVID-19 on Monday.
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