Drop in Covid-19 numbers due to protocols, high vax rate: Duque

The country’s lower coronavirus figures could be attributed to Filipinos’ adherence to the minimum public health standards and the high vaccination rate, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

In his presentation to President Rodrigo Duterte Monday night, Duque reported a 31 percent decrease in the daily average cases for the week of March 1 to 7 at 899 infections compared to the previous week – February 22 to 28 – at 1,306 infections.

“One differentiator compared to many of these countries, I should like to believe, is our very good compliance to minimum public health standards, ‘yung masking ng mga Pilipino (the wearing of masks of Filipinos),” Duque said.

He added that countries with high vaccination coverage rates “just threw caution to the wind” while Filipinos are disciplined in terms of compliance to the minimum public health standards – physical distancing, hand hygiene, and all other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

This, he noted, is evident in the country’s low mortality rate at 1.5 percent which is much lower than the global average of about 2.04 percent.

The country logged 6,207 new cases for the recent week. Of the total number, 1,479 came from the National Capital Region; 836 from Calabarzon; and 776 from Western Visayas.

Three severe and critical cases were added to the tally and 615 verified deaths were recorded for the recent week.

“Ang current cumulative case fatality rate ay nasa 1.56 percent, mababa po kumpara sa (The current cumulative case fatality rate is 1.56 percent, lower compared to the) global fatality rate of 2.04 percent,” Duque said.

Meantime, the tally of recovered cases for the recent week reached 9,954. The country’s current cumulative recovery rate is 98.7 percent.

The healthcare utilization rate nationwide also showed a downtrend in the recent week. About 18 percent of the non-intensive care unit (ICU) beds are utilized while 26 percent of the ICU beds are utilized.

Out of the 6,572 total admissions at the national level, only 16.1 percent are identified as severe and critical.

When asked about the reason behind the decline in cases, Duque told Duterte the country has two sources of protection – vaccination and natural immunity.

To date, a total of 137,085,697 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. Some 69,229,939 individuals were given the first dose of the vaccine; 63,793,957 are fully vaccinated; and 10,616,590 have received booster shots.

Duque said the Philippines experienced an early spike in cases before these numbers went down as compared to other countries in the region.

“This is the fifth straight day that we have reported below 1,000 cases per day. So, the next reason, Mr. President, is the protection from natural infection, natural immunity,” he said.

The country had five surges since the pandemic started. The recent surge due to the Omicron variant infected many with only mild symptoms, and some no symptoms at all, accounting to 92 to 94 percent of the overall case tally.

The country’s vaccination figures also show that about 70.76 percent of the target population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

As of March 6, Department of Health data showed that 63,690,701 individuals are fully vaccinated while 10,554,093 people have received their booster shots.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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