OCTA sees no downward trend of COVID-19 cases by Aug. 20

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) – The OCTA Research group does not see any downward trend of COVID-19 cases in the country by Aug. 20, an indication the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila may possibly go beyond that date.

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David explained that based on the history of the country's battle against COVID-19, it takes three to four weeks before infections decrease from a surge.

"Whatever happens, we probably don't see a downward trend yet on August 20," David told CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend on Saturday.

"Even if maging effective ang ECQ, hindi natin makikita agad ang decrease. Maso-slow down muna yung increase, bababa yung reproduction number, then finally magkakaroon ng downward trend," he said.

[Translation: Even if the ECQ will be effective, we cannot immediately feel the decrease. The increase in cases would slow down, the reproduction number will go down, then finally there will be a downward trend.]

David added that almost all areas in the country - except for General Santos City and Iloilo City - are recording higher COVID-19 cases per day.

Based on OCTA's data, the country's reproduction rate as of Saturday is at 1.46. David said the rate is 1.85 in Metro Manila and "almost two" in Cavite.

"Ibig sabihin nito, dalawang tao na may dalang COVID-19, tatlo ang nahahawaan nila (This means two people with COVID-19 can infect three others)," David explained.

He added that the country is currently averaging 11,000 cases per day, and daily COVID-19 infections are increasing by 30% every week.

If this trend continues, David warned daily infections can reach as high as 14,000 by next week.

The OCTA Research fellow also noted that the country's healthcare capacity is nearing its peak since many local government units have already maximized all their available hospital beds and intensive care units.

In light of the surge, David suggested to boost the country's testing capacity to reduce the positivity rate, which is at 25%.

"If we're testing 50,000 per day, we should have at least double that," said David, who urged the government to use antigen test for mass testing due to its increasing accuracy based on studies.

From Aug. 7-13, the country averaged 49,135 persons tested per day. The number of people tested in the country had its highest count in Aug.13 with 57,355 while its lowest was on Aug. 10 with 33,070.

The country marked two grim milestones on Saturday. It again broke its record for the second highest number of new COVID-19 cases reported in a day with 14,249 while the death toll surpassed 30,000.