COVID-19 cases in PH may reach 500k by end-2020 – OCTA Research

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could hit 500,000 by the end of 2021, according to the OCTA Research team.

The experts said the total number of cases could reach between 470,000 and 500,000 (with a mean of 485,000 cases) by December 31. The Department of Health reported 429,864 cases, including 8,373 deaths as of Sunday, November 29.

The virus’ reproduction number increased to 0.88. However, the researchers said the number is still below the critical level of 1 for the period November 22 to 28. A value higher than one shows the is spreading.

The OCTA Research said National Capital Region (NCR), Davao del Sur, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental, and Western are areas under concern. Meanwhile, the cities of Makati, Lucena, Batangas, Davao, and Pagadian were considered high-risk areas.

“Based on the available data, it is becoming clear to us that the increases in in many places around the are largely community transmission exacerbated by the  rise in mobility due to the opening up of the economy coupled with the deteriorating compliance with the minimum health standard by citizens due to pandemic fatigue,” the OCTA Research’s latest monitoring report stated.

“In some places, the situation is further exacerbated by the effects of the recent typhoons (including delays in test reports due to the temporary closing of test centers).”

COVID-19 cases in PH may reach 500k by end-2020 – OCTA Research

The team also urged the public to avoid crowded and enclosed areas this Christmas season. People should also avoid joining or organizing social gatherings.

“There is evidence from Europe and North America that increased social mixing among households is driving the second wave of COVID-19 in these parts of the world,” said the OCTA Research.

The experts asked the government to enforce the 10-person limit for gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and discourage office parties and other social events.

“Family gatherings should be limited in size and should be celebrated outside to mitigate transmission,” they said.

The team also recommended maintaining Metro Manila under GCQ until the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the new quarantine classifications today, November 30.