OCTA: Uptick in COVID-19 cases not poll-related

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The slight surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past week could be caused by the more transmissible Omicron subvariants and had nothing to do with election-related activities, according to the OCTA Research Group.

“We don’t think it’s election-related. I think it’s more connected to the Omicron subvariants and waning immunity,” OCTA fellow Guido David said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News/TV 5 on Tuesday night.

David said the slight increase in Metro Manila’s COVID reproduction number from 1 to 1.05 had nothing to do with the elections and the campaign rallies.

“The emerging Omicron subvariants likely caused the slight uptick in COVID cases as well as the waning immunity or weakening wall of immunity developed by vaccinated individuals, considering that different people have different anti-body responses,” he explained.

David said to prevent a possible surge in COVID cases, the government should boost the vaccination program and administer booster shots.

“We have the stockpile of vaccines. Why not use these vaccines?” he said, adding that if COVID infections increase, it will be weak in terms of number of cases per day and probably even in the severity of cases.

Should there be a surge of COVID-19 cases because of the BA.4 and BA 2.12.1 subvariants, David said OCTA only sees a few thousand cases.

David said the “tell-tale signs” of a possible uptick in COVID cases are the increase in reproduction number and hospitalization rate.

“But on the bright side, the increase in COVID cases this time is slow compared to those before the Delta and Omicron surges,” he said.

OCTA said Metro Manila remains under the low risk category for COVID-19.

The research group said the last time that Metro Manila’s reproduction number increased to more than 1 was on Dec. 24, 2021 and July 15, 2021 during the start of the Omicron and Delta surges, respectively.

“Over the next few weeks, the best case scenario is status quo while the worst case scenario, based on available data, is a weak surge in COVID-19 cases,” David said.

Manila logs 6 COVID cases

In Manila, six new COVID-19 infections were recorded yesterday while 22 active cases were tallied in nine districts, according to the city public information office.

The active cases were registered in Ermita, Pandacan, Port Area, Sampaloc, San Andres, Sta. Ana, Sta. Cruz and Tondo 1 and 2.

The city government has administered over 3.45 million vaccine doses. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab


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