Independent research firm OCTA Research Group on Sunday expressed confidence that the foreseen Covid-19 surge in Metro Manila is still reversible.
“This is a cause for concern, but it’s not irreversible yet. There is still a window for us to have interventions and slow down this increase in cases,” OCTA fellow Professor Guido David said.
David is pertaining to earlier pronouncement of the group that the National Capital Region (NCR) is now in the early stage of a surge.
“If we don’t act immediately, this could escalate to more cases than or similar surge to what we saw in March,” he added.
He also said the current average number of cases in the NCR stood at 900, if the cases increase more than 1,000 by next week, “it is going to be critical and we really have to put a hard stop to this.”
He added that based on statistics, the increase in cases in the NCR can be attributed to the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
“We are very concerned that there is Delta transmission in the NCR, it is not confirmed yet. But based on statistics and probabilities, part of it is driven by the Delta variant,” he said.
OCTA said the situation in the NCR is “critical” as the vaccinated individuals cover only 20 percent of the region’s population.
OCTA vs DoH
The group also stood up on its claim that Metro Manila is now experiencing the “early stage” of a surge similar to the trend seen in February.
“Definitely there are early signs of a surge, in fact we can see it as many local government units (LGU) in the NCR are already implementing stricter protocols,” he said.
The infectious disease expert said this is evident as some LGU in the NCR are showing an increase in their reproduction rate, as well as their daily average reported cases.
“For example in Valenzuela, which has the highest reproduction number at 1.61. The reproduction number in Manila is also high at 1.43,” he added.
He also flagged cities of Caloocan and Makati for having high reproduction numbers and Covid-19 cases.
The statement came after the Department of Health said the agency has not seen an “objective basis” that there is already a surge in the NCR.
The agency also said the reverting of the NCR to stricter restrictions is for “anticipatory” only, and not because a surge is already taking place.
On Friday, the NCR and provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte were placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions from 23 to 31 July.