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Metro Manila’s Covid prognosis looks good

The slight increase in Covid cases in and out of NCR was caused by the more transmissible Omicron subvariants and apparently not due to
election-related activities

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Photo | AL PADILLA

The silver lining in what to some may be dark clouds on the Covid-19 horizon is that most persons in Metro Manila infected by the virus since the start of the year have exhibited mild symptoms.

On Tuesday, the Covid-19 reproduction number in the National Capital Region (NCR) increased slightly to 1.05, according to an independent monitoring group that urged the public to get inoculated because the vaccines work effectively against the virus first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.

“Yes, that’s the good news. We also saw this in January. And because these subvariants are Omicron, the presentation of cases is still mild, especially if they are vaccinated,” a fellow of the group, Guido David, said.

A reproduction rate below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down. However, a number over 1 does not necessarily mean cases are seen to surge, he stressed.

The rate of reproduction refers to the number of people infected by a single case, thus a number below 1 means that the virus was not passed on from one infected person to other people.

Data that closely tracked official government figures have shown that the two times the reproduction increased to more than 1 in the capital region, they were due to surges attributed to the Omicron and Delta variants.

Omicron and Delta had been shown to be more transmissible compared to the original mutations.

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

The group added that the average daily attack rate of 0.52 and the positivity rate of 1.2 percent are still within the benchmark of the World Health Organization.

With the campaign peaking two weeks before the 9 May elections, experts and the public both anticipated possible surges in Covid cases due to the packed grand rallies held not only in Metro Manila but across the nation.

That fear may not have materialized as David earlier said that the slight increase in Covid cases in and out of NCR was caused by the more transmissible Omicron subvariants and apparently not due to election-related activities.

A Filipino who flew in from the Middle East on 4 May carried the Omicron subvariant BA.4. Likewise, the Department of Health last week confirmed the local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.

No matter the two Omicron subvariants, the NCR and regions across the Philippines have remained under the minimal risk case classification.

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