Lockdown sacrifices pay off – COVID 19 cases flatten

Melody Mendoza Aguiba

   A tool called “Nowcasting” assures us that our sacrifices in ECQ (enhanced community quarantine)—popular as the lockdown—has already flattened the curve  for death cases and also infection cases of COVID 19.

   According to Epimetrics President John Q. Wong, without the ECQ, the number of Covid 19 cases would have risen dramatically particularly in Luzon.

The curve for COVID 19 cases could have risen steeply had it not been for the ECQ.

   The curve for the death rate has already flattened.  At the start of the outbreak, number of  cases was doubling from 10 cases to 20 cases per day. 

   With the ECQ, doubling rate is now slowing down to say every 7 days, the webinar led by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) indicated. The nowcasting is a project under

   Now death speed rate has remarkably reduced –already considered flat.

   Fortunately, what contributes to an even flatter curve of COVID 19 cases is the strengthening capacity of the Philippines’ health care system, according to Wong.

   Yet, based on data, there is still catching up to do to ensure that NCR (National Capital Region) beefs up capacity health care capacity as it is still in the danger zone. This is based on number of mechanical ventilators, ICU (intensive care unit), and isolation beds.

Luzon COVID 19 cases put it at danger zone with more than 75% use of isolation beds

   Considered danger zone is the use of 70 percent or more of number of isolation beds, ICU, and mechanical ventilators.

   In the case of Luzon, it is in danger zone with the use of isolation beds hitting more than 75%.

   Other regions in the country are in the safe zone (30 % or less utilization of ventilators, ICU, isolation beds) —Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), and Zamboanga provinces.

   In the warning zone (30% to 70% health facilities use) are Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley provinces, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Region 3 (Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan).

   Nowcasting uses actual data to determine actual number of cases and deaths in the past and predict what may happen based on these data.  The “now” indicates its being “actual” rather than based on assumptions (which is what is used in forecasting).   

Nowcasting is a project under
the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler or FASSSTER, a web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling. FASSSTER is developed by Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila – National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau  and funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

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