An epidemiologist said the Philippines had flattened the COVID-19 curve after imposing lockdown for nearly two months.
Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist, serving the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases in the country, made the remark despite the country’s lack of testing and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
He said the country’s coronavirus data gathered from 10 to 14 days ago showed “the curve has already flattened.” Wong noted that one of the indicators of this claim is the longer doubling time of new cases and COVID-19 deaths.
Wong explained that before the lockdown in major parts of the country in March, the average case doubling time was 2.5 days. But after nearly eight weeks of quarantine, the average doubling time now is 4.6 days. He said Luzon, except Metro Manila, has the longest doubling time of 5.8 days.
Slower death rate indicates PH has flattened COVID-19 curve
A lower rate in coronavirus related death was also observed nationwide in the past days. The average doubling time for deaths now is 5.7 days from 4 days. Excluding Metro Manila, the doubling time for mortality in all geographic areas is at least seven days.
The mortality doubling time in Luzon is 7.8 days; in Mindanao, 7.7 days; and in the Visayas, seven days. Metro Manila, however, has 5.6 days.
“This is a picture [of the COVID-19 situation in the country] about 10 days back. We already saw that 10 days ago, there was already an improvement in both cases and mortality,” said Wong. He is the founder of the health research institution Epimetrics Inc. and a member of the task force’s subtechnical working group on data analytics.
“We already saw that the curve had already flattened. If there’s no significant changes, the flattening will continue, meaning we will have very few additional cases,” he added.
Johns Hopkins University said a country is flattening the curve when it can “reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next.”
“This helps prevent health-care systems from becoming overwhelmed. When a country has fewer new COVID-19 cases emerging today than it did on a previous day, that’s a sign that the country is flattening the curve,” it said.
Wong, however, said it was still “difficult to predict when the peak will be and how many cases we’ll have at the peak.”
“There are several models going around, but they are [presenting] different numbers. I don’t want to speculate whether we have reached the peak,” he told reporters in an online press briefing.