OCTA: Metro Manila COVID-19 reproduction number at 4.69 from 6.16 peak

OCTA: Metro Manila COVID-19 reproduction number at 4.69 from 6.16 peak
The national government allows the voluntary use face shields mandate in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3 as the Philippines sees a new surge in COVID-19 infections in January 2022.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila's COVID-19 reproduction number — a term which refers to the number of persons a COVID-19 positive individual can infect — has decreased to 4.69 in recent days, the OCTA Research Group said Wednesday. 

At the number's peak earlier this month, the independent pandemic monitor said, one carrier of the disease could infect up to 6.16 people each on January 2 until slowing down to its current number as of January 8. 

"A decreasing reproduction number indicates that the trend is slowing down. One way to think of this is a decreasing growth rate — cases are still rising but at a slower pace. In past surges, a peak is always preceded by a decreasing reproduction number," OCTA fellow Guido David said in a tweet. 

The reproduction number in the National Capital Region — where more than 50% of all tests being conducted have come out positive — has been higher than 5 since December 30 of last year.

The Metro Manila Council of mayors, though, said it still saw no reason to place the Metro under the stricter Alert Level 4, citing relatively "stable" hospital utilization numbers. 

Citing Google mobility data, David said that mobility in Metro Manila is comparable to an Alert Level 4 situation.

"The NCR is, practically speaking, under Alert Level 4. It seems that the public has already responded to the threat of Omicron and the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases," he said.

As it stands, though, of the 28,007 cases recorded by the Department of Health on Tuesday, 15,445, or 55 percent came from the National Capital Region. 

David, a mathematician and a government consultant on the coronavirus pandemic, said he projected less than 30,000 cases on Wednesday, ranging from 25,000 to 27,000. 

"Projection ranges are still wide due to backlog, but it should be around the same range as yesterday's tally," he said. 

"Are we close to the peak in the NCR? Hopefully. Because the trends being observed are based on limited data, there is still uncertainty when the peak might happen...until then, let us continue to follow best health practices and wear good face masks in public," David said. 

Franco Luna 


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