PH records all-time high COVID-19 cases in a day with 7,103 new infections

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Over a year into the pandemic, the country has broken its record of highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a day with 7,103 infections on Friday, the Department of Health reported. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — Over a year into the pandemic, the country broke its record of highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a day with 7,103 infections on Friday, according to data released by the Department of Health.

This surpassed the previous record on August 10 with 6,958 infections.

The total surged to 648,066 with 11.3% or 73,264 active or currently ill patients. It is also the highest active case count since August. At least 93.9% of the active cases have mild symptoms, 3.3% have no symptoms, 1% are in critical condition, 1.1% are in severe condition and 0.59% are moderate cases.

The DOH also posted a positivity rate of 15% the highest since April last year based on data as of March 18.

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people whose tests turn out positive out of all those tested. A higher percentage suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with the coronavirus in the community who have not been tested yet, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Out of 35,508 people that got tested, 5,327 turned out positive. However, the DOH will still update the figure when it receives the remaining data from five laboratories.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said there were 3,779 new cases in Metro Manila, the region's third highest record. The highest was on August 10 with 4,174 infections, next on August 14 with 3,800, he added.

The nationwide death toll climbed to 12,900 which is 1.99% of the case tally, with 13 new deaths. Meanwhile 390 others got better, raising the recovery count to 561,902 or 86.7% of the total number of cases. The DOH said it reclassified four survivors into fatalities after validation and removed 21 duplicates, including 14 recoveries.

The DOH COVID-19 tracker also updated its March 17 positivity rate at 14.5% with 6,227 positive tests out of 42,890. The rate is 0.7% higher than the previous day's 13.8%.

Among Filipinos abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported seven more infections, with the total now at 15,948 in 89 countries. Of this total, 3,778 cases were verified by the DOH, the DFA said. One more patient died while 17 got better, bringing the death toll to 1,045 and the survivor tally to 9,666. There are also 5,237 persons undergoing treatment.

Possible seasonality

Infectious disease specialist Rontgene Solante said it is possible COVID-19 could become a seasonal disease like the flu. The World Meteorological Organization under the United Nations also said it could become seasonal "over time".

But on how soon the disease could become seasonal, Solante said he has yet to find out.

"We need to go on with our vaccination. Hopefully everyone will be vaccinated so that we will be able to stop the transmission," he added.

Among the factors to check is the effectivity of vaccines in "sterilizing" the community and if community transmission can be curbed.

"With ongoing transmission, there is the possibility of more mutation, more variants and likely that there will be another lineage of the COVID-19 virus and every year we might have a different vaccine to protect individuals," Solante said.