New normal? Concerns as daily COVID-19 cases reach over 20,000 for 3 straight days

September 6, 2021 - 12:46 PM
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Health workers sort patients' files at a triage area in Santa Ana Hospital, where a sign indicating that the hospital's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) facility is at full capacity is displayed, in Manila, Philippines, April 9, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

New normal?

It has been three straight days since the country has logged more than 20,000 new cases on its daily COVID-19 tally amid the ongoing threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Filipinos noticed this after the Department of Health on Sunday reported 20,019 new cases which brought the national caseload to 2,080,984.

The DOH has been reporting more than 20,000 new cases at times, with the record high at 22,366 on August 30.

However, this was the first time the health agency logged more than 20,000 for three consecutive days.

Last Friday, the DOH logged 20,310 new cases, considered the second-highest daily tally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It logged 20,741 more new cases on Saturday and then 20,019 more on Sunday.

ABS-CBN data analytics head Edson Guido was among the first ones who noticed the pattern.

“Sana hindi tayo umabot sa point na normal nalang ang 20,000+ cases per day,” he tweeted on September 4, the second day of more than 20,000 new cases.

Statistician Peter Cayton, who is part of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, also took note of the grim development on Sunday.

“Araw-araw 20k/day na ata tayo… Dear goodness,” he tweeted.

Other Filipinos also aired their concerns over the increase in the reported daily COVID-19 cases.

“Kasama po ba sa new normal ang 20k cases per day?” a Twitter user asked with emojis of a raised eyebrow and unamused faces.

“20k is the new normal ganern???” another online user commented when the DOH reported more than 20,000 new cases for the third time.

“Tatlong araw nang 20k. Ito ba ang gusto nilang new normal?” a different Filipino likewise tweeted with a disappointed face emoji.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David on Sunday said that the group projects the daily tally of COVID-19 may reach up to 25,000 to 30,000, all the way to the end of September.

“It’s possible for us to reach 30,000 (cases) in the entire country by end of September according to the trajectory, but we do not see the 43,000 in Metro Manila alone,” he was quoted as saying to DZMM Teleradyo.

David’s comment was in reference to the DOH’s comment that the daily cases in the National Capital Region “may range from 16,000 to 43,000” by the end of the month.

The OCTA fellow said that the average daily attack rate would be at 300 if Metro Manila records 43,000 cases everyday.

“To put it in perspective, this will be much worse than India, Indonesia, all other countries,” David said.

He added that based on their current projections, the NCR will not yet see a scenario of having more than 40,000 daily cases.

In terms of testing, David said that there are about 70,000 COVID-19 tests being done everyday but added that it would be better if it can be doubled to 150,000 tests.

Meanwhile, the DOH said that the figures were used “to guide the government to be better prepared in its COVID-19 response.”

“The assumptions used included mobility, public health and healthcare capacities and system, and the public’s adherence to the minimum public health standards (MPHS),” the health agency added.

It later said that the projected average is “not cast in stone” and that it may change if the local government units start to implement localized or granular lockdowns.