Flattened curve must be sustained for ‘several months’ to manage coronavirus pandemic - UP expert

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 26) — The Philippines may finally flatten the coronavirus infection curve next month, but this trend must be sustained for “several months” to manage the pandemic, a member of the research team that monitors and evaluates COVID-19 trends in the country said Wednesday.

Professor Guido David of the University of the Philippines OCTA Research pointed out that the country is close to flattening COVID-19 curve because its “reproductive number” or R0— a statistic used to measure the rate of virus transmission — is on a downward “trajectory.” A lower reproduction number means a decrease in new infections passed on by people afflicted with the disease, David explained during a briefing.

The UP OCTA fellow said that the current reproduction number is between 1 and 1.1. This is lower than the 1.7 to 1.8 level recorded about three weeks ago. He said the reproduction rate is seen to go down further to 1 “soon.”

But the expert warned that this trend “can always reverse” anytime, too. Recent gains should not make the public and the government complacent, he said, adding the country must continue its collective efforts for the spread of coronavirus to stop.

“This is just the start of recovery process — iyong pag flatten ng (the flattening of) curve. This does not mean that the pandemic is over,” he said.

Assistant Professor Ranjit Rye, also member of the UP-OCTA research team, earlier said that the modified enhanced community quarantine reimposed in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal for two weeks could reduce the country’s reproduction number. These four areas reverted back to general community quarantine on August 19.

The country now has 202,361 COVID-19 cases, with 133,460 recoveries and 3,038 deaths. Earlier, the UP OCTA said the total number of infections in the Philippines could hit more than 200,000 by the end of the month.