PHL COVID-19 cases could reach 220,000 by end of August under GCQ scenario, says UP prediction

University of the Philippines professors Ranjit Rye (right) and Dr. Guido David talk about UP COVID-19 projections in a Laging Handa press briefing. (Screenshot of PCOO video)

(Eagle News)– The country’s COVID-19 cases could have reached 220,000 by the end of August if Metro Manila and surrounding areas remained under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), according to a University of the Philippines prediction.

But with the return to the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) protocols, UP experts said that there would be about 170,000 total cases by end of the month, saving as many as 50,000 cases.

Iyong bagong forecast po natin ay 220,000 kung naka-GCQ lang tayo, 220,000 sa end of August kung naka-GCQ tayo. Ngayon at naka-MECQ tayo, we will save a little more than 50,000 new cases. So, malaki hong—iyon ang projection lang namin. Iyon ho ay malaking implikasyon ng MECQ,” said UP Political Science professor Ranjit Rye in a virtual press briefing Monday, Aug. 3.

With increased cooperation from the public, the numbers of projected cases could be further decreased, he said.

Increased testing and contact tracing, as well as early treatment and isolation of cases, could also make a difference, especially in the lowering of the COVID-19 transmission rate which is currently at almost 1.5, referring to the number of persons which can be infected by a COVID-19 case.

Kung magtutulungan tayo – ang taumbayan, ang private sector at ang gobyerno, lalo na at mapaigting ang T3, mas mataas pa ang kasong mase-save natin. So, uulitin ko, 220,000 ang aming estimate projection sa August pero dahil nag-MECQ tayo, bababa between 50 to 70,000 ho ang bagsak, minus, doon sa mga bagong kaso,” Prof. Rye said.

-Lowering transmission rate in 2 weeks-

The UP professor said that after 15 days, the current almost 1.5 transmission rate, could be lowered to just 1.

Para mabigyan natin ng kaunting linaw, iyong transmission rate natin, R0 ngayon natin halos nasa 1.5 na; after 15 days, babagsak ng 1 iyan, malaking bagay po iyan at iyon ang kailangan nating bantayan, iyong trend po. Kaya ho natin kung magtutulungan tayong labanan ang trend, pababain ang COVID-19 cases sa bansa,” Rye said.

He said that it is important for the public to observe social or physical distancing, proper handwashing, and to wear face masks and face shields.   For the sake of the country’s frontliners, people should also stay home as much as possible during the MECQ period.

Rye noted that if the transmission rate had been lowered in Cebu when it was also placed under MECQ, the same could happen in Metro Manila and Region 4-A, which have the highest number of cases, so far, along with Bulacan.

“So, let’s make this MECQ work; at para sa gobyerno, sana nga mapaigting pa lalo ang testing, tracing at isolation. Iyon lang,  babagsak talaga ito. Kaya natin, ginawa na natin sa Cebu ito, kaya nating gawin sama-sama sa NCR at sa CALABARZON,” he said.

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan have been placed under MECQ effective Tuesday, Aug. 4 until Aug. 18 to arrest the spike in cases.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 4, the total COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 112,593, with the addition of another record-high number of cases at 6,352.  Almost half of the new cases came from Metro Manila (3,132 cases)

(Eagle News Service)