COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach 75,000 in months if not contained — DOH

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COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach 75,000 in months if not contained â DOH
A policeman checks a passenger jeepney during the community quarantine of Metro Manila on March 17, 2020.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — There could be as many as 75,000 new coronavirus cases in the Philippines in two to three months if the spread of the contagion is not contained, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this was the estimate of experts from the DOH and the World Health Organization along with Filipino epidemiologists. The projection was based on the total number of cases worldwide, which stands at nearly 200,000.

The Philippines reported six new coronavirus infections, raising the country’s total count to 193 by midday Wednesday.

According to the experts’ findings, it is possible that one carrier of the virus can infect two persons “in just one sitting.”

“Within two to three months, it can reach that peak kung saan 75,000 ang pwedeng magkaroon ng infection,” Vergeire said during the “Laging Handa” press briefing.

(Within two to three months, it can reach that peak in which 75,000 may possibly get infected.)

'Flatten the curve'

But Vergeire said that it is possible to “flatten the curve”—keeping the daily number of cases at a manageable level—as long as strict measures are in place.

“Ibig sabihin pwede pa nating i-spread across many months yan if we only can implement stringent measures katulad nitong social distancing,” the Health official said.

(That means we can spread out the infections across many months if we only can implement stringent measures such as social distancing.)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared a state of calamity in the Philippines as COVID-19 infections continue to rise. The country has 14 deaths and seven recoveries.

The chief executive also placed the main island of Luzon on enhanced community quarantine, ordering some 55 million people to stay home for a month. People are only allowed to leave their houses to buy food, medicine and other basic necessities.

Mass gatherings are prohibited and public transportations are suspended during the month-long quarantine.


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