UP experts project 150k COVID-19 cases by end of August

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MANILA, July 31 (Mabuhay) — Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) said Friday the number of COVID-19 cases in the country may reach 150,000 by the end of August.

Almost double the current national case total, the projection reflects the “exponential growth” experts have talked about, Professor Ranjit Rye of the UP OCTA research team said.

The current national case total is 89,374 as of Thursday. Of this number, there are 22,327 active cases after the Department of Health reported a record 38,075 recoveries in one day. Nearly 2,000 patients have died.

Rye said the team recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday to either reinstate the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila or retain the general community quarantine, with enhanced localized lockdowns and enhanced testing, tracing, and isolation.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Minglanilla and Consolacion towns in Cebu province, and Zamboanga City will be under GCQ from August 1 to 15.

The rest of the Philippines will be under modified GCQ.

While the virus’ reproduction number, or the number of people an infected person could pass the virus to, in Metro Manila has decreased from 1.75 to between 1.3 and 1.4, Rye said this is still a high value.

“Mataas pa rin po kasi siya…[dapat] below one,” he said in the radio interview.

In an earlier report, the UP OCTA team said that to flatten the curve, the reproduction number should be less than one. A value higher than one indicates the pandemic is spreading.

Meanwhile, the virus’ reproduction number in Cebu has fallen to less than one — – 0.8 or 0.9, according to Professor Guido David, who is also part of the OCTA research team.

He said this means Cebu has flattened the curve but that this is not a reason to disregard health standards. (MNS)

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