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OCTA: XBB variant possibly the cause of NCR COVID-19 spike in September

OCTA: XBB variant possibly the cause of NCR COVID-19 spike in September

The Omicron XBB subvariant may be the cause of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) last month, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Sunday.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, David recalled the transmission of the more transmissible Omicron variant in January, and the start of surge of the Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants in June.

“Natagalan ang wave natin. Hindi lang natagalan, pagdating ng August, pababa na siya pero biglang tumaas ulit nung September... Sa analysis namin, 'yung pagtaas na ‘yun nu'ng September ay ayan na 'yung XBB, sa palagay namin,” he said.

(The wave was prolonged. It didn’t just take long, but it went down in August, and suddenly increased again in September... In our analysis, that increase in September was due to the XBB.)

Currently, David said that the COVID-19 wave in NCR is already declining, with its positivity rate now at 12.9%.

“Umabot ‘yan ng mga 19% noong September. So pababa naman siya,” he added.

(That reached about 19% in September. So the COVID-19 cases are going down.)

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced last week that the Philippines already recorded 81 cases of Omicron XBB subvariant and 193 cases of the XBC variant.

The XBB is a recombinant of two Omicron subvariants, while the XBC is a recombinant of the Omicron BA.2 and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants. Both the XBB and XBC have “potential immune-escape characteristics,” according to DOH.

On Friday, DOH said there are localized community transmission of XBB observed in Western Visayas, and the XBC in Davao and Soccsksargen.

The DOH on Saturday logged 1,702 new COVID-19 cases even as the active tally dipped to 23,713.

The total COVID-19 caseload stood at 3,993,148 on Saturday, with 3,905,693 recoveries and 63,742 deaths.

NCR had the highest number of new infections in the past two weeks with 8,279, followed by Calabarzon with 4,428, Central Luzon with 2,550, Western Visayas with 1,564, and Davao Region with 1,435. —KG, GMA News