This past Monday, the Philippines inevitably crossed a line that seemed like a distant threat only a year before. As of April 26, with the addition of 8,929 new cases of the dreaded COVID-19 in the country, the Philippines has passed 1 million in total number of COVID cases since the pandemic erupted around the world in early 2020. As it stands, the country is now second in the record number of COVID infections for Southeast Asia, behind the 1.6 million-plus cases of Indonesia. Despite the grim numbers however, the nation’s top health official is asking Filipinos to think positive.
CNN Philippines reports that Secretary Francisco Duque III of the Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging Filipinos to flip the narrative on the over 1 million total cases of COVID-19 for the whole pandemic period. In an interview with the news network this Tuesday, April 27, Sec. Duque says it is better to look at the infection situation through a more optimistic lens as he explains, “The one million cases can be viewed also from a different angle that this will, sooner or later, will bring in a million recoveries.”
With the added new cases this past Monday, the milestone count of COVID among Filipinos is about 1,006,428 total cases. Of them, a total of 914,952 cases have gotten better from the disease, after adding Monday’s recoveries of 11,333. Of the rest, 16,853 have died of COVID and related illness aggravated by the virus. What is left, the active cases, are 74,623 people who continue to battle the infection at hospitals and isolation wards. In terms of percentage, 7.4% of the total are active cases, 1.67% are deaths, while a hefty 90.9% cases got better. Even among the active cases, 95.4% have mild symptoms, 1.4% are asymptomatic, 0.87% are moderate, 1.3% have severe symptoms and 1% are in critical condition.
Optimistic viewpoint aside, Sec. Duque does concede that the COVID-19 response in the Philippines could take a step up. “We need to focus, as a nation, how we can further improve our pandemic response,” he remarks. “I’m not saying we are successful. There are opportunities which we grab each time to do things better.” Said opportunities might be discussed later on this Tuesday during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to mull over the next quarantine status for Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces, the NCR Plus. It should be made official when President Rodrigo Duterte announces the May quarantine classifications April 28.
Image courtesy of AP News