MANILA

Senators hit DOH for giving ‘false sense of security’

MANILA. Senators Francis Pangilinan, Joel Villanueva and Risa Hontiveros. (Photos from the senators Facebook pages)

THREE senators on Friday, July 31, 2020, chided the Department of Health (DOH) for giving a “false sense of security” by tagging asymptomatic and mild coronavirus cases as recoveries after more than 14 days from the onset of symptoms or date of specimen collection.

Based on this time-based tagging methodology, the DOH reported 37,166 recoveries on top of the 909 reported by the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (Resu).

Total recoveries on July 30 was 38,075, the highest number in a single day.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said this is dangerous because this gives the patients "false sense of security that they are already well without going through the rigors of swab tests."

“Makakapanghawa at mas maraming magkakasakit pag ang maysakit ay tinawag na ‘recovered’ kung hindi naman ito na-test. Patayin ba ang taumbayan ang gustong mangyari ng gobyerno?” he asked.

He said he believed DOH was "doctoring its data to make it appear that the government is making headway in battling the pandemic."

“May himala ba? May magic? Ang mga doktor, dapat nagpapagaling sa pasyente, hindi nangdudoktor ng numero at impormasyon,” he said.

Senator Joel Villanueva also said the DOH was giving people a false sense of security.

“Imbes na mass testing, naging mass recovery. Yung reporting style ng DOH, mas malala pa sa pagbago-bago ng panahon," he said in a tweet.

Under the time-based tagging methodology, cases with mild symptoms or no symptoms (asymptomatic) whose date of onset of illness or specimen collection was more than 14 days ago are tagged as recovered.

This is based on DOH Memorandum 2020-0258 on the enhanced data reconciliation efforts with local government units.

Senator Risa Hontiveros condemned the agency's “confusing and questionable” pronouncements.

“People are anxious and tired. Huwag na dagdagan. Nakakalito at nakakaduda ang papalit-palit na reporting system sa Covid," she said.

"Pati ang kabagalan ng pag-collate at pag-report, ngayon pati sa recovered cases," she added.

Hontiveros also appealed for transparency from the DOH.

“Data is vital. Hindi tayo makakatugon nang maayos kung hindi natin alam ang kumpletong larawan ng problema. Clear communication is what will earn the people’s trust," the senator said.

“Unless we are hiding something, we owe it to the Filipinos to be transparent and to allow the Covid-19 data to speak for itself, and from there plan our course of action in fighting the pandemic,” he said.

Pangilinan, for his part, raised the following questions:

-How certain are we that these mild and asymptomatic cases are already virus-free after 14 days?

-Are doctors now authorized to issue health clearance certificates to asymptomatic persons?

-Will these cases of “recovered patients” from among the mild and asymptomatic persons no longer have to get two negatives earlier required by the DOH? (SunStar Philippines)


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