DOH expects COVID-19 cases to peak by mid-September

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 1) — The Department of Health is expecting new COVID-19 cases to peak by the middle of September as the feared Delta variant further drives up the number of infections.

In a briefing Tuesday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have observed a “steep increase in new cases” in the recent week. From August 24 to 30, the DOH noted an average of 17,013 cases per day, up from 14,886 in the previous week.

This is also higher than the previous peak of 10,431 recorded from March 29 to April 4, she noted.

The health official said if this pattern continues, “we may see cases peak by mid-September.”

On Monday, the country posted another all-time high in new COVID-19 cases at 22,366.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David told CNN Philippines that new infections may even reach 25,000 next week. Cases will continue to increase a little further before going down, he added.

Vergeire associated the exponential increase in cases to the more transmissible Delta variant.

Based on studies, a person infected with Delta variant can infect five to eight others, she noted.

The DOH and World Health Organization had both confirmed the community transmission and dominance of the Delta variant in the Philippines.

Still, the trend in cases will depend on public compliance to minimum health standards, shortening of intervals between detection to isolation, faster vaccine deployment, and the granular lockdowns, Vergeire added.

It is also important to keep severe and critical COVID-19 cases at low numbers so as not to overwhelm medical facilities amid increasing infections, she said.

Latest data show that total COVID-19 cases in the country are nearing the two-million mark at 1,989,857. Of this number, 145,662 are currently ill.

Meanwhile, around 13.7 million Filipinos have received full protection from the virus, still a far cry from the 70-million target to achieve herd immunity.