(July 15, 2020) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has jumped by 1,392, the health department said on Wednesday, bringing the tally to nearly 59,000 since the outbreak in early January.
But the total number of active cases were 36,260 as nearly 21,000 infected patients have recovered and 1,600 have died from the disease as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made a controversial statement declaring the country has flattened the curve in April.
But he immediately drew criticism from the public and some lawmakers as more infections were reported and major public and private hospitals were turning away COVID-19 patients because their beds reserved for the respiratory disease were almost full capacity.
Duque emphasized his point saying the country’s case doubling time had lengthened from three days in April to eight days in July, saying that ” Ang ibig sabihin dito ay nasimulan na nating nailiko o naikurba yung epidemic curve in April after the imposition of the ECQ noong March 17.”
“Ang case doubling time ay based on historical data and not on daily data,” his deputy, Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, clarified in the virtual press briefing on Wednesday.
“Maaring ‘di maapektuhan ang pagtaas ng kaso sa iisang araw, kung yung dami ng kaso sa nakarang araw ay hindi kasing dami ng kaso na nareport ngayong araw na ito. Maaaring sa next few days po ay magbago ang kasalukuyang case doubling time natin,” she added.
Metro Manila still topped the areas with the highest additional cases with 708, followed by Cebu province with 198 and Iloilo with 86, both in the central Philippines; and Laguna (64), and Cavite (46).
The number of patients who have recovered rose by 517, bringing the total to 20,975. But the health department said the number of these recovered patients came from March or May as a part of the data reconciliation effort.
On the other hand, 11 more fatalities were reported, bringing the death toll to 1,614. Five died this month, while six occurred in June.
Eight of the fatalities were from Metro Manila, while others were from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Seven of the 11 who have passed away were senior citizens. The rest were one, 26, 41, and 50 years old.
In an earlier forum, Duque said he appealed to medical center heads to increase their bed capacities dedicated for COVID-19 patients from 30 to 50 percent.
Several major private and public hospitals in Metro Manila said they could not accept any more COVID-19 patients, and the health department said bed capacity alloted for coronavirus cases in the capital region are already at the “danger zone.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the health department has sponsored two clinical trials for COVID-19 drug candidates: the anti-viral drug remdesivir for severe patients, and the anti-flu drug favipiravir, better known as Avigan, for those with mild symptoms.
Director General Eric Domingo said these trials are about to start, with at least 24 hospitals participating in the country.
Out of the 163 drug and vaccine candidates in the world, 23 are undergoing clinical trials.
At least two are in phase 3, where thousands of patients can participate. These are the ones formulated by the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca and Oxford University, as well as China’s Sinovac-in which the Philippines has also agreed to participate in.
The FDA also said a drug made by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute may also enter phase 3.
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