DOH warns of ‘critical’ COVID cases by Aug.

June 15, 2022 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 322 views

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday warned of a possible increase in severe and critical COVID-19 cases by August due to the waning immunity of the public.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, assured that at present the country’s severe and critical cases are currently stable and hospitals are not overwhelmed.

“There is this projection that maybe by, it might happen, that by August, our hospitalizations will increase and there would be more severe and critical cases because of the waning immunity of the population,” she said.

Vergeire said there is waning immunity due to the slow uptake of booster shots.

She previously stressed that maintaining a low number of severe and critical cases is what is important amid the observed increase in COVID-19 cases.

At present, 14.56 million individuals have received their first booster against COVID-19 while around 557,000 have been inoculated with the second dose.

Despite this, the health official said making the second booster shot available to the general population who wish to receive it is not the answer.

According to Vergeire, the waning immunity stems from the effect of the transmissible Omicron variant on the primary vaccine series.

“Therefore because of that, all of us who have received our primary series, the first and second dose, should receive the third booster shot,” she said.

The health undersecretary stressed that only immunocompromised individuals, health workers, and senior citizens may avail of the second booster shot.

Immunocompromised individuals refer to those with immunodeficiency state, HIV, active cancer or malignancy, transplant recipients, undergoing steroid treatment, patients with poor prognosis/bedridden patients, and other conditions of immunodeficiency as certified by physicians.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the average number of new cases per day rose to 270 from 182 per day last week.

“But if you look at the numbers even in the different areas where increasing cases are happening, hindi naman po ganoon kalaki. Actually ang average daily attack rate natin, hindi pa din po tumataas ng more than one or even just two sa Philippines,” she said.

Meanwhile, the OCTA Research group expects the number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide to hit 450 to 500, with 250 of those coming from the National Capital Region.

On Twitter on Tuesday night, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said the single-day positivity rate in NCR had increased to 4%.

The new COVID-19 infections have accelerated with a reproduction number of 1.59, a slight increase from 1.29 last week.

David said that it was “likely to exceed initial forecasts.”

Reproduction rate refers to the number of people infected by one case. A reproduction number that is below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down.

The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

According to David, Metro Manila is expected to be at moderate risk for COVID-19 by next week.

“At this time nasa low risk pa tayo sa Metro Manila, green pa siya. Pero by next week, we are projecting nasa moderate risk na tayo, yellow,” he said.

Low risk means the average daily attack rate in an area is less than 1 per 100,000 population while moderate risk means it is between 1 to 7.

David said the government might need to decrease passenger capacity on public transportation or indoor establishments “at the minimum.”

He also advised establishments to “hold off” the return to on-site work.

The OCTA fellow said working from home may help the public save money while fuel prices are high.

While deferring to the Department of Education, David also suggested to put off the start of face-to-face classes by a month.

The Philippines logged 257 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the nationwide tally to 3,693,865, according to the latest data released by DOH.

The new infections brought the country’s active tally to 3,130, from 3,097 on Monday.

More patients recovered from the viral disease, bringing the recovery tally to 3,630,274.

The DOH said the country’s death tally stood at 60,461 with no new deaths reported.

OCTA sees new COVID-19 cases hitting 450 to 500 on June 15, 2022