The Department of Health (DOH) sees Covid-19 cases in the Philippines increasing in the coming days, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR).
However, the DOH does not believe lockdowns is not the answer to stopping the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Citing forecast by experts, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday said active cases in Metro Manila could reach 66,000 by August 31 and at least 269,000 by September 30 if the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) would be implemented until the end of next month.
“Looking at our projections, it looks like the number of cases will increase in the next days,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual public briefing in Filipino.
However, she emphasized that quarantine lockdowns is not the solution to curbing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our data analytics experts had a discussion with various agencies and we realized that this enhanced community quarantine compare the previous ones may not have an effect on increasing cases because of modifications,” she explained in Filipino.
She added that improvements in administration of vaccination, case detection to isolation, and compliance to minimum public health standards can help lower Covid-19 cases, which means the projected numbers will not be realized.
Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, infectious diseases expert and member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, underscored that wearing a mask and following the health protocols delay a person’s exposure to SARS-CoV-2 but topping it with vaccination “decreases the risk of severe disease by 90 percent” and dying by a factor of 10.
“Delta has completely changed the equation. It is no longer a question of whether or not you will be exposed to Delta, but when. You can delay it by wearing your mask and the rest of your armor. But a variant as contagious as chickenpox will eventually find a way to ambush you when you least expect it,” he said on his official social media page.
“When that happens, please make sure you are vaccinated,” he said, adding that vaccinated people, 60 years old and above have a decreased risk of dying from 10 percent to 1; and 0.1 percent from 1 percent for those between 18 to 60 years old.
But he said even vaccinated individuals must still wear masks.