Rather discomforting, reports from Hong Kong that the coronavirus numbers are showing signs of rebounding, only days after reintroducing more restrictions ahead of the 25th anniversary of the former British colony’s transfer to Chinese rule.
According to health officials, the finance hub this week saw daily cases go above 1,000 for the first time in two months, although hospitalization remains relatively low, with only 25 percent in serious or critical condition as of Friday last.
Here at home, a member of the independent OCTA Research group referred to data from the Department of Health which suggested the average number of new coronavirus cases in Metro Manila has shot up by 71 percent over the previous week’s figures.
OCTA fellow Guido David said the NCR, where 13 million people of the country’s population of 110 million live, recorded an average of 176 new cases per day from June 11 to 17, up from the average of 103 daily new cases the week earlier.
The metropolis reported 282 new cases on Friday last week, the highest since April 3, when new cases increased to 332 – possibly due to backlogs in real-time reports.
On the national level, the Department of Health showed that the 539 new COVID cases it recorded Friday were also the biggest number since April 3 when the total new cases hit 690.
The latest figure meant an additional 114 from the 425 new cases logged throughout the country the previous day.
Against this health landscape, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III renewed the agency’s appeal to the people never to be complacent nor worried over the rise in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region.
Duque said there is no need for the public to panic as the increase in COVID cases is still considered as “low risk.”
He expressed hope the noted increase is going “to be very minor and short-lived and not enough to overwhelm the health system’s capacity.
That, notwithstanding, sagacity dictates that the people, understandably eager to bump off the basic health protocols, now have an excuse to be self-congratulatory.
Fact is, health experts and others involved in the doughty battle against the pandemic continue to underscore the need to comply with the masking mandate and the rest of the minimum public health standards.
Others have come forward, like Rep. Janet Garin, a former DOH secretary, who said one way to curb the rise in the number of COVID cases is to intensify the vaccination drive and to give a second booster shot to everyone willing to get it.
At this point, the Department of Health currently allows a second booster dose only for health workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals.
We note there has been a low turnout of eligible individuals who had availed themselves of the second booster shot.
As of Wednesday last week, only about 580,000 eligible Filipinos have availed themselves of the second COVID-19 booster dose.
It is disturbing, to say the least, that waning protection and inadequate protection from the primary series are two reasons put forward as the causes of the breakthrough infections.
President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who will take his oath on June 30 as the country’s chief political magistrate following an unprecedented landslide victory, has urged the public to continue wearing face masks to prevent another COVID-19 surge that could hold back the country’s hope for economic recovery.
The 64-year-old incoming president issued the statement amid fears of a possible Covid-19 surge by next August.
He obviously has his eyes on the health of the population when he called on the public to avail themselves of booster shots being offered by the government, noting that waning immunity provided by the primary shots could make them vulnerable to Omicron and other highly transmissible Covid variants.
Given that the Covid pandemic is still stalking the population, different variants may indeed emerge.
That is very discommoding.