UP experts project 40,000 COVID-19 cases by June 30

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) projected that the total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines would reach 40,000 by June 30. 

Institute of Mathematics Assistant Professor Guido David and Department of Political Science Assistant Professor Ranjit Singh Rye presented the figures on during a forum on Thursday. 

“‘ Yung projection actually is nasa 40,000 cases by June,” David said, adding that the projection was based on the current trend of transmission.

(Our projection is 40,000 cases by June.)

David added that the projection could still change if the spread of the respiratory disease slows down.

“The spread can be measured by the ratio of infection and recovery rate or the reproduction number (R0). If the R0 is greater than 1, it means the virus is spreading, but if lesser than 1, it means the curve is flattening.”

Currently, the Philippines’ reproduction number is 1.2.

David said the National Capital Region (NCR) and Cebu are the “battlefields” of coronavirus outbreak based on the data. He, however, said the R0 of NCR already reduced to lesser than one, showing a flattening curve.

According to Rye, the Department of Health should closely monitor the situation and take appropriate and timely action in Cebu, where the virus transmission is evident.

“Nandiyan po ang COVID-19, buhay na buhay siya. Naghihintay nang may mahahawaan. Dapat maging maingat po tayo at maging maagap,” he said.

The same group also projected early May that premature lifting of enhanced community after May 15 would result in a spike in up to 24,000. 

As of June 11, the Philippines recorded 23,732 cases, 1,027 deaths, and 4,895 recoveries.

“Our data suggest that a premature relaxation of the ECQ in the NCR may result in an escalation of 24,000 cases and 1,700 deaths by June 15, 2020,” the professors said in their published “COVID-19 Forecasts in the Philippines: Sub-national models for NCR and other selected area.”

Rye’s group also revealed on May 26 that the DOH had not reported more than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 yet. They also asked the government to maintain modified enhanced community in Metro Manila after May 30.

A few days after the group made the statement, the DOH started reporting fresh and lates cases of COVID-19, explaining they are clearing the laboratories’ backlogs. NCR then transitioned to the general community on June 1.