Cases still rising but Duque says Philippines has flattened coronavirus curve

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Cases still rising but Duque says Philippines has flattened coronavirus curve
A worker (L) takes the temperature and sprays disinfectant for a passenger on a jeepney in Manila on July 6, 2020, after thousands of jeepneys hit the road again after over three months since they were forced to stop operation amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 4:53 p.m.) — The Philippines, which is seeing a renewed surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases following the easing of containment measures, has “successfully” flattened the epidemic curve, the country’s health chief said Wednesday.

“We have successfully flattened the curve since April,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during the government’s pre-State of the Nation Address forum.

Duque’s definition of flattening the curve goes against those in other countries where flattening means a consistent decrease in daily cases. In the Philippines, there has been a spike in coronavirus infections since the government began further relaxing quarantine rules last month.

To date, the Philippines has a caseload of 57,545—of that number, 35,483 are active cases. The surge in the number of infections is increasing pressure on hospitals, with several medical centers announcing they had reached full capacity of beds allocated for COVID-19 patients.

In justifying his pronouncement, Duque said this was based on longer case doubling time.

Before the national government placed the main island of Luzon on enhanced community quarantine in March, the average case doubling time nationwide was 2.5 days. It now takes 8.18 days for the number of cases to double across the country, the latest DOH figure showed.

“The other metric to say we have flattened the curve is the mortality doubling time also got longer and is now moderate risk classification,” Duque said.

The DOH belatedly reported 162 new deaths recorded Sunday—the country’s biggest single-day jump in fatalities related to COVID-19. The country's death toll stood at 1,603 as of Tuesday.  

‘Bent the curve’

Hours after he was criticized over his claim, Duque said on Twitter that the country “bent the curve in April” after the implementation of ECQ in March. 

“But we are seeing an increase in cases due to the expanded testing capacity and community transmission as we allow movement of people,” Duque said. 

“Ang mahalaga ay ma-maintain ang bilang ng mga kaso at manageable levels para hindi natin ma-overwhelm at mapagod ang ating healthcare workers,” he added.

(What is important is to maintain the number of cases at manageable levels to avoid overwhelming and burdening our healthcare workers.)

In a briefing Monday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the average number of daily new COVID-19 cases in July is 1,571 based on reporting date. If based on the onset of illness, the daily average is 766 cases.

In May, the DOH said the country had already started flattening the curve, saying "the data shows that the doubling time, or the time it takes for a metric to increase two-fold, has increased significantly for both new cases and deaths."

The health chief earlier drew the ire of the public when he claimed in a Senate hearing that the country was dealing with the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak—a statement that medical experts and other Cabinet officials refuted. 

He also repeatedly said in the same inquiry that the Philippines has “flattened the curve,” which according to him, pertains to a scenario where new daily cases reported daily have “stabilized.” 

The DOH later on clarified the country was still experiencing the first wave of sustained community transmission.

The Philippines has the second highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, behind Indonesia with over 76,000 cases.

Related video:

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with