Researchers at the University of the Philippines (UP) are forecasting that Davao City will have a total of 190 positive cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths by the time the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ends on May 15, 2020.
In its Forecast Report No. 5 dated April 29, 2020, the researchers said while the daily transmissions in Davao City had been reduced on the second week of April, there was a slight resurgence in the succeeding weeks.
The research, “COVID-19 FORECASTS IN THE PHILIPPINES: Sub-National Models for NCR and other Selected Areas,” was conducted by Guido David, PhD; Ranjit Singh Rye, MPA; and Ma Patricia Agbulos, MBM with contributions from Emmanuel Lallana, PhD and Erwin Alampay, PhD.
The report was based on data obtained from the Department of Health (DOH) and “aims to provide insights on the implications of the decisions that we are going to make and the measures that could prove useful in our collective effort to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic.”
“The next several weeks are full of uncertainty as we attempt to restore normalcy in our lives,” the researchers said.
The report showed that nationwide, the rate of increase has slowed since the initial wave of cases — down from 20 percent increase on March 29 to the current 2 percent increase.
It also said the “curve” — that is, the frequency of new cases compared to the date of disease onset — is “close to flattening and the pandemic may soon die out.”
The report noted that the ECQ has proven to be successful “especially for a nation that has been challenged in many areas, specifically the lack of available mass testing and hospital facilities.”
However, the researchers noted the number of cases is still increasing at a steady rate.
“The ECQ needs to be continued in certain areas in order to win the war against Covid-19,” they said. “There will need to be significant reduction in new Covid-19 cases if we are to control the pandemic,” they added.
These areas include Davao City where the researchers, assuming a continued decrease in transmission due to the continued implementation of ECQ, projected a total of 190 total cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths by May 15.
“Continued strict implementation of the ECQ until such time is advised,” the researchers said.
The ECQ in Davao City had initially been set to end on April 26 but this was extended to May 15 following the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that identified the city as one of the high-risk areas in the country.
Aside from Davao City, the research focused on Region 4 (CALABARZON), Region 3 (Central Luzon), Cebu Province, Panay Island, and the National Capital Region (NCR).
The researchers said the measured transmission rates for the Philippines have gone down and that the curve is “close to flattening and the pandemic may soon die out.”
They added, however, that they anticipate a possible increase in the coming days due to the following:
- Transmissions inside health facilities
- Increased testing confirming more people as Covid-19 cases
- Undetected asymptomatic cases which may infect other individuals
- Lags in reporting of cases may cause sudden increases as the backlogs are reported
- The incubation period of the SARS-Cov2 virus may be longer than the 14-day quarantine period
Given these, they gave the following recommendations as “minimum safeguards”:
- mass randomized testing capability,
- effective contact tracing, and
- sufficient health facilities, equipment, and isolation areas to deal with Covid-19 cases and other diseases in the area.
“These are crucial if we are exploring loosening or modifying restrictions,” the researchers said.
They also reiterated an earlier statement cautioning the government on the premature relaxation of the ECQ “without substantial data and without the minimum health safeguards in place in affected areas regardless of the historical number of cases.”