The reproduction number of the coronavirus has gone down to 1.74 in Metro Manila, the OCTA Research group said Wednesday, but stressed it is too early to say whether this marked the start of a new COVID-19 case trend.
In their latest monitoring report, the independent team of experts said the reproduction number, which refers to the number of people that each COVID-19 case can infect, dipped to 1.74 on August 10 from 1.80 two days prior.
“While this is a welcome development, it is too early to determine if this is the start of a new trend. A change in direction of the reproduction number always carries the most uncertainty, and the trend should be clearer within the next few days,” they said.
OCTA said Metro Manila averaged 2,297 new cases per day over the past week, a 43% increase from the week before.
Despite this, the group said “preliminary projections show that the seven-day average may not exceed 2,500 new cases.”
“If the early projections turn out to be correct, this means that surge capacities in terms of testing and hospital utilization might not be breached,” they said.
Average daily attack rate
However, OCTA also flagged Metro Manila’s high average daily attack rate (ADAR) of 16.45 cases per 100,000 population, seven-day positivity rate of 16%, hospital bed occupancy rate of 57%, and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rate of 67%.
“Over the past seven days, ICU utilization increased by an average of 22 occupied ICUs per day. Based on this trend, ICUs in the NCR will reach 70% occupancy before August 15, 2021,” the group warned.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier classified Metro Manila as a high-risk area for COVID-19 due to its high ADAR and moderate level two-week case growth rate.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, OCTA Research fellow Professor Guido David said he could not yet say whether the prevailing enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila should be extended past August 20.
“Hindi pa natin masabi, pero kung ang basis ng DOH is ‘yung healthcare utilization, mukhang aabot na tayo ng 70% ICU [utilization]. Walang kasiguraduhan na by August 20, bumaba na ‘yung ICU utilization natin,” he explained.
(We can’t say yet, but if the basis of the DOH is the healthcare utilization, it looks like we’ll reach 70% ICU utilization. There’s no guarantee that ICU utilization will go down by August 20.)
The Philippines is battling a renewed uptick in infections following the detection of local cases of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
The country has logged over 1.68 million COVID-19 cases with 1.57 million recoveries and 29,220 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon. — RSJ, GMA News