Cebu Province has second highest Covid fatality rate

Coronavirus disease. Medical frontliners in Cebu work during the Covid-19 outbreak in May 2020.
Coronavirus disease. Medical frontliners in Cebu work during the Covid-19 outbreak in May 2020. SunStar file

CEBU Province, excluding its highly urbanized and independent component cities, has the second highest coronavirus disease (Covid-19) fatality rate in the country, according to the Department of Health (DOH) Covid-19 tracker as of Jan. 8, 2024.

In the agency’s table on case statistics by province, highly urbanized city or independent component city, Cebu Province was listed as having a Covid-19 fatality rate of 4.8 percent after it accumulated 54,810 cases since 2020, of whom 2,626 died.

The national fatality rate is 1.6 percent.

Aurora in Central Luzon has the highest fatality rate at 5.1 percent, after the province logged 4,541 cases, of whom 233 died.

Rounding out the top 10 are Surigao del Norte with a 4.5 percent fatality rate; Guimaras, 4.1 percent; Davao de Oro, 3.9 percent; Zambales, 3.8 percent; Oriental Mindoro, 3.7 percent; Dinagat Islands, 3.6 percent; Iligan City, 3.5 percent; and Puerto Princesa City, 3.4 percent.

The highly urbanized cities of Cebu had the following Covid-19 fatality rates: Mandaue City, 2.8 percent (17,386 cases, 480 deaths); Cebu City, 2.7 percent (61,922 cases, 1,699 deaths); and Lapu-Lapu City, 2.4 percent (19,929 cases, 483 deaths).

The DOH said “discrepancies with local data may occur” as some case data were still for validation.

The national fatality rate is 1.6 percent.

Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2). The World Health Organization says anyone can get the respiratory disease and become seriously ill or die at any age.

Still around

It’s been four years since a pneumonia outbreak in mainland China was first reported and later developed into the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide until vaccinations controlled its spread and allowed people to abandon social distancing and return to normal life.

But the DOH Covid-19 case tracker shows that the disease is still very much around, with 6,138 active cases nationwide on Jan. 8, 2024, some 502 of them added on that day alone.

Of the over 6,000 active cases, half were confined in Covid-19 facilities.

New cases

Of the 502 new cases, nine were reported in Cebu City, six in Cebu Province, and two each in Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City.

The places in the country with the most number of new cases were Quezon City, 39; Bataan, 28; Isabela, 23; and Pasig City, 20, Iloilo Province, 20.

The DOH said confirmed cases are those that tested RT-PCR positive by a DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine certified lab.

This means the real figures are much higher since many people today just take commercially available Covid-19 antigen self-tests and don’t report positive results if their symptoms can be managed at home.

The places with the highest number of active cases were Quezon City, 395; Laguna, 261; Rizal, 240; Iloilo Province, 235; and Cavite, 202, DOH data show.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 4,140,383, of whom 66,864 died.

According to the Jan. 8, 2024 report, 48 new deaths were reported in the last 14 days.

As for the Covid-19 facilities nationwide, occupied as of Jan. 8 were 261 ICU (intensive care unit) beds and 2,782 non-ICU beds.

7 million dead

Worldwide, 773,819,856 Covid-19 cases have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2023, of whom 7,010,568 have died.

For the 28-day period of Dec. 4 to 31, 2023 alone, the WHO said, 286,562 new cases were reported worldwide, as were 9,575 deaths.

In May 2023, the WHO lifted the declaration of Covid-19 as a global health emergency and said the disease could now be managed along with other infectious diseases.

But in a media briefing last Wednesday, Jan. 10, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminded the public that “although Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the virus is still circulating, changing and killing.”

He described the almost 10,000 deaths from Covid-19 reported to the WHO in December as “preventable” and “not acceptable.”

Ghebreyesus warned of “increasing transmission during December, fuelled by gatherings over the holiday period, and by the JN.1 variant, which is now the most-commonly reported variant globally,” based on data from fewer than 50 countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas.

“It is certain that there are also increases in other countries that are not being reported,” he said.

With this, he reminded governments to continue surveillance and ensuring access to affordable and reliable tests, treatments and vaccines, while also calling on individuals to guard against Covid-19.

Last Jan. 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national public health agency of the United States, said Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States had “increased 20.4 percent the week ending Dec. 30, 2023.”

In that same period, it said, deaths rose 12.5 percent, “with Covid-19 deaths accounting for 3.6 percent of total deaths in the United States.”


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