Is Philippines doing better? Additional context on the pandemic situation in India

April 28, 2021 - 9:11 PM
A sign is displayed at a triage area in Santa Ana Hospital indicating that its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) facility is at full capacity, in Manila, Philippines, April 9, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

A few government officials have been citing the bleak pandemic situation in India in claiming that the Philippines is faring better in terms of the proportion of deaths, population and tests conducted.

In an infographic it posted on April 28, Earth Shaker Philippines, which became a go-to source of science information on social media, showed that while India has 1,293 more confirmed cases than the Philippines per 100,000 population.

The country has a fatality rate of 1.7% or 15.27 more deaths. India’s death toll is slightly lower with 1.1% or at 14.46.

India also has conducted more tests and administered more vaccines than the country.

Total tests conducted per 100,000 population

  • India – 20,322
  • The Philippines – 10,458

Vaccines administered per 100,000 population

  • India – 10, 619
  • The Philippines – 1,513

Earth Shaker cited and Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker as sources of their data.

In the thread, the organization noted that there should be no comparison regarding the health crisis because every number equates to a human life.

“Going beyond the #COVID19 figures and on who’s better and who’s not, it’s important to realize that behind every number is a human!” it said.

“Instead of being complacent just because ‘we’re not the worst,’ let’s strive to end this pandemic very soon through science-based decisions,” it added.

Filipinos welcomed the additional context Earth Shaker’s infographic provided, saying such interpretations is needed amid the worsening situations between two countries.

“Now this one’s looking the pandemic at the right angle,” one user said.

“Proper perspective not propaganda,” another user wrote.

Some users also echoed the group’s reminder that the pandemic is not a competition.

“COVID is not a contest, but we shouldn’t be complacent just because we are not the worst,” one user said.

Some lawmakers were previously referencing the coronavirus crisis of other states, including that of India, on social media as a form of assurance that the Philippines is supposedly faring better.

Virginia Arcilla-Agtay, head of PCOO News and Information Bureau, also recently confirmed a memo circulating online where government media were ordered to show that the country is doing better than other countries.

The Philippines, however, had just breached the one-million mark in total confirmed cases this week.

As of April 28, the country recorded 6,895 additional infections, which brought the total to a staggering 1,020,495 cases.

The Department of Health also announced new 115 more deaths, adding to the total of 17,031.

There are also 10,739 new recoveries, which brought the total to 935,695.

Travel ban from India 

Malacañang announced on April 27 a travel ban of travelers from India amid the threat of the new variant entering the country.

“All travelers coming from India or those with travel history to India within the last fourteen (14) days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning 0001H of April 29, 2021, until May 14, 2021,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque noted that passengers already in transit from India and with travel history to the Philippines who will arrive here before April 29 will not be restricted.

However, they will need to undergo strict quarantine and testing procedures.

“The Department of Transportation should ensure that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers entering the country pursuant to travel restrictions imposed by the Office of the President and IATF resolutions except if they are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government,” he said.