COVID-19 cases in Philippines could reach 60,000 by July 31-experts

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A group of experts projected that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach more than 60,000 by July 31 while the death toll may reach 1,300.

The group was composed of the University of the Philippines mathematics professor Dr. Guido David, UP political science assistant professor Ranjit Singh Rye, Ma. Patricia Agbulos of OCTA Research and biology professor Rev. Fr. Nicanor Austriaco of Providence College and the University of Santo Tomas.

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The group also projected that the number of coronavirus cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) could reach 27,000 by the end of July.

For Cebu Province, the estimate is that infections may reach 15,000 by the same date, “assuming a continued implementation of ECQ.” The group added that “the province of Cebu has significantly higher transmission rates than the rest of the country.”

“Using the current value of Rt, based on the current number of cases in the Philippines (including uncategorized cases) and assuming the trends continue, this projects to more than 60,000 Covid-19 cases by July 31, with 1,300 deaths. In NCR, the projection is 27,000 cases by July 31, while in the province of Cebu, the projection is 20,000 cases by July 31. We emphasize that the projected increase in cases and deaths can be prevented by rapidly identifying and breaking chains of viral transmission,” the group said.

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“The pandemic is not yet on the downward trend,” they said.

The group’s study covered the period from March 1 to June 25, 2020.

Also read: No COVID-19 deaths despite surge in cases in Eastern Visayas-Año

The experts explained they estimate the reproductive number of the virus at around 1.28 in the Philippines.

“The current reproduction number Rt in the Philippines is still greater than 1, with an estimate of around Rt =1.28, based on the number of new case reports, incidence of fresh cases, and the reports on positively tested individuals,” they added.

The virus reproduction rate is estimated to be 1.28 in NCR.

The group also observed that the average number of daily fresh cases in NCR increased from 271 during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to 396 under modified ECQ to 583 during general community quarantine (GCQ).

This represents “an increase of 50% from one period to the next,” they said.

“This increase can be explained in part by the increase in testing capacity in the country, especially since the positivity rate remains stable. Nonetheless, the positivity rate over the past two weeks is trending up, suggesting that the pandemic is spreading more significantly,” the group said.

“We believe that this uptick in the positivity rate reflects the current situation in Central Visayas and Cebu, which is experiencing a surge in infections,” they said.

The virus reproduction rate in Cebu City is almost 1.8, the group added.

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