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COVID cases surge will be evident in first 2 weeks of January –OCTA prof

The rise in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines due to increased interactions during the holiday season would be noticeable in the first two weeks of January, OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye said Thursday.

"Hindi na if 'yan [pagtaas] eh, but a question of when and how much. Siguradong tataas po. Wala nang kaduda-duda," Rye said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB.

"Makikita natin 'yan first o second week of January kasi may incubation period pa tayo," he added.

OCTA's research team hopes that the increase would be minimal. Otherwise, the health care system's capacity may be overwhelmed.

"Ang hope namin below 2,000 cases a day, sana just above 1,000 okay na 'yun kasi kakayanin ng hospital system natin 'yun eh. Pero kapag umabot tayo ng 2,000 to 4,000 cases, wala na ho," Rye said.

"Ang ipinagdadasal natin 'yung wave na ito ay mababa lang, mabagal na wave. Ang ayaw natin tsunami... Pero pwede hong in the next week or so, kung magpapabaya tayo o magkukumpiyansa eh baka tsunami ang mangyari," he added.

In the last seven days, the number of new cases recorded in the Philippines ranged from 1,196 to 2,122, based on data from the Department of Health.

Each individual has a role to play in preventing a major spike in COVID-19 cases in the country by celebrating the Christmas and New Year responsibly and with high regard for minimum health standards, according to Rye.

He urged the public to avoid crowded places and indoor restaurants with bad ventilation as the threat of getting COVID is still lurking in the corner.

Reproduction rate of virus

The reproduction rate of COVID-19 nationwide has already breached 1.0, according to the professor.

"Generally speaking, sa buong bansa, tumaas na tayo sa over 1.0. Specifically, ang epicenter ng surge na ito ay nasa NCR po. Nasa 90% ng NCR tumaas na," Rye said.

"Ang ibig sabihin nito, 'yung transmission rate, mabilis ang pagkalat niya pag over 1. Mas maraming puwedeng mahawa," he added.

As of December 23, the Philippines recorded a total of 464,004 cases of COVID-19—92.7% or 429,972 recovered while 1.95% or 9,048 died. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country is 24,984. —LBG, GMA News