Real COVID-19 cases may be double than reported -PHAPI exec

The real number of people infected with COVID-19 in the country may be double than those reported, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) said Tuesday.

PHAPI president Dr. Jose de Grano explained that this may be due to the lack of COVID-19 testing, and many people treating the viral disease as a regular flu.

“The real number of cases is probably double than the figures we are presenting right now because a lot of people really do not get tested and some get tested by using the rapid antigen that is not reported. So it could be higher than what is reported right now,” he said in an ANC interview.

Despite the increase in cases, De Grano, however, said the hospital utilization rate in the country remains to be manageable, and many cases are either mild or asymptomatic.

Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) Monday report, 391 or 14.9% out of the 2,628 intensive care unit (ICU) beds were occupied. Meanwhile, 4,034 or 18.1% of the 22,251 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.

De Grano also underscored the importance of compliance with the minimum public health standards, specifically the wearing of face masks.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday the country’s observance of the health protocols has decreased by 21%.

Considering this and the increased mobility of the people, she said the Philippines may see the COVID-19 cases escalate between 3,800 and 5,300 per day by the middle of July, citing a FASSSTER projections.

The infections in the National Capital Region (NCR), on the other hand, may shoot up to as high as 3,800 to 4,600 per day over the same period based on the same factors.


Further, De Grano said the local government units should go to the barangay-level, and even the houses of the people, in order to ramp up the booster inoculation in the country.

“Some of the reasons are, of course, economic also. They don’t have the money to go to the vaccination centers. They don’t want to just go there and expose themselves,” he said.

The booster uptake remains a challenge for the national government as only 14.9 million individuals have received their booster shots. This is a far cry from the 70.3 million Filipinos who are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

De Grano said the boosters should also be given to anyone who wishes to receive it. This is in consideration to the second booster dose that is only currently available to frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals.

“I also believe that the ones who want to get boosted should be given. They should not restrict it to a certain section of the population,” he added.–AOL, GMA News

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