‘Breaking all records’: Canada researcher raises alarm over Philippines’ high COVID-19 positivity rate

January 10, 2022 - 3:43 PM
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A police officer checking vaccination cards at a checkpoint at Quezon City-San Mateo, Rizal boundary along Batasan-San Mateo Road on January 10, 2022. (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

“Philippines breaking all records.”

A Canada-based researcher tweeted this in reference to the Philippines’ skyrocketing positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in just two weeks this month.

The researcher and professor named Madhu Pai shared on January 9 a screenshot of a graph from Our World in Data that showed the statistics of the Philippines’s confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last fourteen days.

The graph showed a steep climb on Jan. 7, 2022 from a nearly flattened curve from the previous months in June 2021.

In a graph dated January 9, Our World in Data recorded 6,091.75% growth rate of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines over the last 14 days.

The Biweekly change of confirmed COVID-19 cases measures the “biweekly growth rate on any given date measures the percentage change in the number of new confirmed cases over the last 14 days relative to the number in the previous 14 days.”

Screenshot of a graph of COVID-19 data in the Philippines via Our World in Data website

The recorded data was from the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

A Filipino doctor named Harold Henrison Chiu attributed the situation to the possible local community transmissions of the Omicron variant.

“The notorious O sign is now seen in the (Philippine flag. Commit na po natin na meron na talagang community transmission na ng omicron late last year,” Chiu said in a quote-retweet to Pai’s post.

DOH has yet to confirm local transmissions of the Omicron variant.

The health agency only mentioned that there is a “high possibility” of community transmission. .

“Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units are currently investigating these local cases and tracing all their possible close contacts.  While more definitive data are needed, the epidemiological investigation on the three local cases indicates there is a high possibility of local transmission,” DOH said in a previous statement.

In a previous briefing, vaccine expert panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante said that for him, there is already local community transmissions of Omicron variant.

“Sa situation natin ngayon, with the enormous number of people being positive with the short duration of time, then I would say there is already community transmission of Omicron variant,” Solante said.

As of January 9, the Department of Health detected 28,707 new COVID-19 infections, which brings the total to 2,965,447 cases.

The new cases also adds to the 128,114 active cases.

Of the total cases, there are 2,785,183 recovered cases and 52,150 deaths recorded.

ABS-CBN News previously released an infographic that showed how the Philippines reversed its downward trend of COVID-19 cases in less than three weeks.

Vaccinologist Melvin Sanicas joined other members of the medical community in emphasizing that Omicron is not “mild” in terms of its impact.

Sanicas also urged the public to continue observing strict health protocols such as properly wearing of face masks and receiving vaccine shots, including booster shots.

“We are all busy so I will keep this short. #Omicron is not mild. It is MILDER compared to #Delta. A #variant that is milder than delta does not mean it’s harmless,” he said.

READ: ‘Omicron is not mild’: Vaccinologist cites variant’s impact to health care, infected patients