OCTA: ‘Weak’ COVID-19 surge worst case scenario in NCR over next few weeks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — A “weak surge” in COVID-19 cases is the worst case scenario that may occur in the National Capital Region over the next few weeks, the OCTA Research group said.

“The best case scenario is status quo, while the worst case scenario, based on currently available data, is a weak surge in COVID-19 cases,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David tweeted on Tuesday.

David said as of May 20, the region’s reproduction number—or the number of people infected by a COVID-19 case—increased to 1.05 from 0.90 reported the previous week.

“A reproduction number above 1 does not necessarily mean cases will surge,” he explained. But he noted that the last two times such occurred were on July 5 and Dec. 24, 2021, or the start of the Delta and Omicron surges, respectively.

On May 17, the Department of Health confirmed the local transmission of Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, but noted there is still no community transmission. 

The DOH said the 17 confirmed cases of the subvariant are not yet concerning, but infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante said this tally may be underestimated

OCTA also reported that Metro Manila’s average daily attack rate—or the number of new cases daily per 100,000 population—remained “very low” at 0.52 as of May 23.

The region’s positivity rate was at 1.2%, with an average of 11,319 tests per day. Hospital care utilization was at 21%, OCTA added.

Given these data, NCR remained at “low risk” for COVID-19, David said.

OCTA and the DOH both said last week they observed increase in Metro Manila's COVID-19 infections. 

Latest government tally shows the country has over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases, of which more than 1.17 million are in NCR. Only 843 patients in the region are still infected.