The daily number of new COVID-19 infections may shoot up to a record level of 43,000 by the end of September according to the Department of Health.
"Based on the daily cases here in the NCR and based on the assumptions or projections that we have, sa September 30 the cases may range from 16,000 to 43,000," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Sept. 17 media briefing.
Vergeire was asked to comment on a previous projection made by the U.P. COVID-19 response team of 30,000-40,000 cases a day in the same time period.
Vergeire said the assumption was based on the levels of "mobility, public health capacity and systems, and adherence to minimum public health standards."
"So pagka atin pong na-improve itong mga nakalagay na factors sa assumptions, we might not reach these numbers," said Vergeire.
Vergeire cited a previous projection of cases in NCR hitting 80,000 last year that was averted due to public health interventions made.
NCR shifted on Sept. 16 to General Community Quarantine under Alert Level 4, which partially opened up mobility and business restrictions in a bid to spur the flagging economy. Though a number of businesses are still prohibited from operating, some, like restaurants, have been given the green light to restart although still with limitations.
GCQ has now been reframed with four Alert Levels where local government units have been given the authority to implement granular lockdowns in areas with high infection rates.
Vergeire also urged the Commission on Elections to reconsider a plan to allow COVID patients to vote in some polling centers during the elections next year. This was after Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas said Sept. 10 that registered voters who tested positive for COVID-19 may vote in isolation centers.
“Sana po ang Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for those covid positive patients. Baka puwede naman pong virtual na lang or digital, SMS, kung makakagawa po tayo ng proseso,” said Vergeire.
“Dahil ang DOH ay di po natin nirerekomenda na ang COVID positive ay lalabas po ng kanilang isolation area to do this kind of activity because this might have some form of transmission and infect other people,” said Vergeire.
The country currently has 177,946 active cases after the DOH recorded 21,261 cases on Sept. 17. Of the total active cases, 95.3% are mild and asymptomatic.
The total number of casualties now stood at 36,018 and total cases at 2.3 million.
(Thumbnail and banner photo: A sign warning people not to enter the Pasay City Sports Complex is seen on Sept. 2 after it was converted into one of the isolation facilities of the local government to augment the overwhelmed hospitals in the city. Photo by Miguel de Guzman / The Philippine STAR)