MANILA, (Mabuhay) –Th e total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may breach the 80,000 mark by the end of July, according to an expert from the University of the Philippines Institute of Mathematics on Monday.

“Tatama talaga ng 70,000 and higit pa. Ang lower estimate natin ngayon nasa 80,000 na eh, sa end of July. ‘Yung 70,000 talagang lalampasan na natin,” UP professor Dr. Guido David said.

Just last week, David’s team projected that up to 70,000 cases may be reported by the end of July and 100,000 by the end of the following month.

He said the National Capital Region has seen a “genuine surge” in infections in previous days as shown by data that they triangulated using indicators such as positivity rate, hospitalization rate, and the number of cases.

Further increase in COVID-19 infections in nearby regions can be expected too, according to David.

“Asahan talaga nating lalong dadami ang cases and ang problem diyan is hindi lang sa NCR. Madadamay na ulit ang Calabarzon, and maybe even Central Luzon kasi hindi namomonitor masyado ang borders natin under GCQ (general community quarantine) and MGCQ (modified general community quarantine),” he said.

David, a member of the UP research team releasing forecasts on COVID-19 numbers, said shifting to MGCQ is not recommended for Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the region under GCQ until July 15. The next step is yet to be announced.

David said that their trend analysis just serves as a barometer for decision-makers on what to do next.

“Hindi namin nire-recommend ang MGCQ dahil malapit nang mapuno ang mga hospital natin and ayaw natin ma-overwhelm sila,” he said.

He added that the region could either remain under GCQ or shift back to a stricter form of community quarantine, if the economy can still bear the impact of doing so.

“Kapag manatili tayo dito (GCQ), dadami talaga ang cases. Dapat mas prepared ang hospitals natin sa increased number of cases,” David said.

As of July 12, the Philippines has 56,259 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,534 deaths and 16,046 recoveries. (MNS)

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