OCTA: Increase in COVID-19 cases due to subvariants not polls

The slight increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and other areas was caused by the more transmissible Omicron subvariants and not due to activities related to the May 9 elections, a fellow of OCTA Research said.

According to Lei Alviz’s report on “24 Oras”on Monday, OCTA research fellow Dr. Guido David said his group has not seen an increase in COVID-19 infections during the conduct of campaign sorties.

“Most likely epekto ito ng panibagong subvariant, rather than sa eleksyon. Bakit hindi sa eleksyon? Kasi since February naman may mga campaign rallies at sorties naman na tayo hindi naman tayo nakakita ng pag-taas ng bilang ng kaso,” Guido said.

(Most likely this is the effect of the new subvariant, rather than the election. Why not in the election? Because since February there have been campaign rallies and sorties and we have not seen an increase in the number of cases.)

Last week, the Department of Health reported that it had detected local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.

On Saturday, a Filipino who flew in from the Middle East earlier this month was found to be infected with Omicron subvariant BA.4.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) considers the Omicron BA.4 as a variant of concern, indicating that it can either spread faster or cause worse illness.

“It has a growth advantage of at least 13% to 14%. So does this mean? This is more transmissible compared to the BA.2. Even if you are infected before with the omicron, even if you are fully vaccinated, you are not exempted. You can still get this infection,” Dr. Rontgene Solante, another OCTA research fellow, explained.

However, the research group believed that further increase of the infections due to the subvariants will not exceed 10,000 new daily cases.

“Sa tingin ko hindi lalagpas ng 10,000 (cases). Pero siyempre mahalaga ang patuloy na magpabakuna tayo at magpa-booster tayo… at sumunod sa health protocols,” Guido said.

(I don’t think there will be more than 10,000 cases. But of course, it is important that we continue to get vaccinated and get booster shots… and follow health protocols.)

The Philippines on Monday logged 1,214 new COVID-19 cases from May 16 to 22, higher by 9.9% from the previous week.

According to the DOH, the daily average of cases was at 173.

The DOH also reported 14 new severe and critical cases and six new COVID-19 fatalities. Of the fatalities, three occurred from May 9 to May 22.

Meanwhile, 4,125 or 17.4% of non-intensive care unit beds are occupied while 432 or 15.4% of ICU beds are in use.–Mel Matthew Doctor/LDF, GMA News

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