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Daily new COVID-19 cases in NCR may reach 5,000 by March 31 —OCTA Research

An expert from the OCTA Research group on Tuesday said the daily new cases of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) may reach 5,000 by March 31 as the projected reproduction number may have already increased.

OCTA Research’s Dr. Guido David said the estimated reproduction number or Rt may have already increased to 1.8.

“Actual cases are now beating projections. Reproduction number in NCR estimated to be around 1.8. This surge is increasing faster than we thought,” he told GMA News.

“If Rt = 1.8, then we will have more than 4,000 cases by March 31 (may even reach 5,000 per day) in NCR,” he added.

According to David, they are receiving reports that most of these cases were transmitted within families or households.

Some of the cases were reported in depressed communities as well as in offices.

On Sunday, the OCTA Research group said the reproduction rate for the period of Feb. 28 to March 6 went up to 1.66 in Metro Manila.

"The last time the region had seen this rate of increase was in July 2020," OCTA Research group then said.

The group then identified four areas in NCR that are at high risk for COVID-19 based on attack rate—Pasay City, Makati City, Malabon and Navotas.


Interviewed on Dobol B TV, Interior and Local Government spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the public became complacent about their safety.

Due to this, he said Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. ordered local government units and law enforcers to conduct a “crackdown” for health protocols.   

“Kahapon po nagbigay ng direktiba si OIC Florece sa ating mga local government unit at lahat ng ating kapulisan na paigtingin muli 'yung enforcement ng mga minimum health standards,” he said.

“Ang sinabi nga po ni OIC Florece kahapon ay crackdown. Crackdown ang gagamitin natin. Ang gagawin natin, 'yung ating kapulisan will enforce 'yung iba't ibang ordinansa na ipinasa ng mga LGU,” he added.

On Monday, Malaya said Florece had a meeting with the NCR mayors, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Health and safety protocols

Several hospitals in NCR have reported an upward trend in COVID-19 cases admitted over the past weeks. Among these are Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine General Hospital, Ospital ng Makati and Makati Medical Center.

Private hospitals on Monday said that while they can still handle the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the public should not let its guard down when observing health protocols, as even children are now getting sick with the virus.

Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPi) president Dr. Jose Rene De Grano said the blame for the 10% to 15% rise in COVID-19 occupancy rates in private hospitals cannot merely be the presence of the more infectious UK and South Africa variants.

Based on a Tugon ng Masa survey conducted by OCTA Research, there were fewer Filipinos observing social distancing than wearing face masks and face shields.

The results showed only 67% of Filipinos are observing social distancing, which is lower compared to the 91% who are wearing face masks and 82% who are wearing face shields.

“While majority of adult Filipinos comply with the minimum Public Health Standards set by the Department of Health, less are able to observe social distancing,” the researchers said.

The DOH on Monday reported an additional 3,356 COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 597,763.

Total recoveries were recorded at 545,912 after 61 got well from the illness, while five new deaths push the tally to 12,521.  A total of 39,330 were active cases.

The number of COVID-19 cases has been going up at a faster rate lately with the past few days reporting over 3,000 new infections daily.

Lapses in compliance with safety protocols contributed to the spike in COVID-19 cases, the DOH said Monday, amid claims the rise in infections is being driven by coronavirus variants. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News