Cases continue to rise, but analyst cites flat epidemic curve


CASES of coronavirus infection in the Philippines continued to increase, but a data analyst said the epidemic curve is starting to plateau.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the the Department of Health (DOH) reported 199 new cases that brought the total count to 9,684.

The death toll also climbed to 637, with 14 additional deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The DOH also reported that 93 more patients have recovered, raising the number of survivors to 1,408.

A few hours before the DOH released its latest case bulletin, epidemiologist and EpiMetrics Inc. president John Wong said the epidemic curve in the country is starting to flatten despite the backlog in the data encoding of specimens.

“We are already seeing that about 10 to 14 days ago, the curve has already flattened. If there have been no significant changes we would expect that the flattening will continue,” Wong said in an online media forum Tuesday morning.

He said, however, that the number of positive cases will continue to fluctuate as there is still no Covid-19 vaccine.

“Until we have a vaccine, we should see surges up and down movements of the epidemic curve,” Wong said.

As of Tuesday, the DOH backlog was about 8,000 tests. Only 10 percent is expected to yield positive results.

Meanwhile, Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) president and National Task Force on Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon said the Philippines’ testing capacity may reach 30,000 per day by the end of May.

The target is to accredit at least 78 Covid-19 testing laboratories nationwide by May 30.

At present, tests conducted average 5,000 per day.

“Gusto natin po sa pamamagitan nitong 78 laboratories na ito, eh tumaas tayo nang 30,000 per day. Kapag tayo po ay umabot ng 30,000 per day, nandoon na po tayo sa lebel ng testing katulad ng mga bansang talagang nag-invest sa testing tulad ng South Korea at ng mga iba pang bansa; at mas mataas pa tayo sa level ng Singapore at ng Israel,” he said.

“Iyon po ang ating goal, at naniniwala po tayo na kung ma-activate natin ang labs na ito, magkakaroon na po tayo ng capacity to test 30,000 per day by May 30. At gagawin po natin ito sa tulong ng private sector,” he added.

The government will also scale up Covid-19 testing for 25,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Metro Manila.

“So ito po, iyong mga mega swabbing centers natin - ready na po iyan. Ang ating magigiting po na Philippine Coast Guard at mga kasamahan natin sa Bureau of Fire Protection ang mag-o-operate po nito,” Dizon said.

Globally, the novel coronavirus has killed 239,604 people as of May 4. More than 3.4 million have been infected. (SunStar Philippines)


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