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DOH to verify Ateneo study on almost 3 million unreported COVID-19 cases

Heath Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday said they will look into the study conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University-Department of Economics stating that around 3 million COVID-19 cases were unreported in the country from April to June.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Duque said the Department of Health will review Ateneo’s research so appropriate actions can be taken.

“‘Yong research na ginawa nila hindi naman ‘yan vetted so kailangan pag-aralan natin kung ano ba ang mga kinonsider dito sa kanilang mga inuulat na mas marami daw ang mga may COVID,” Duque said.

“Kailangan pag-aralan ‘yan at ipakita sa mga researchers at kailangan may peer review katulad ng mga scientist, researchers, aralin nila ang datos. Kasi madali magsalita na ganoon pero anong basis?” he added.

He was referring to a study titled “An Empirical Argument for Mass Testing: Crude Estimates of Unreported COVID-19 Cases in the Philippines vis-à-vis Others in the ASEAN-5.”

Jan Fredrick Cruz, author of the study and lecturer at ADMU-Department of Economics, said estimates were computed by multiplying the number of reported cases with the ratio obtained by dividing the COVID-19 case fatality rate of the Philippines against that of Singapore which has the lowest COVID-19 case fatality rate.

The report said crude estimates for “true” COVID-19 prevalence are made using adjusted case fatality ratios and reported cases for the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

It said Singapore figures are utilized as baseline in the computations because of the island nation’s widespread testing strategy.

Duque said the country is continuing to expand its testing capacity to prevent the further spread of the virus.

“Kaya tayo pinalalawig natin ang testing natin. Isa na rin tayo sa mga may pinakalamalaking testing coverage, nasa 2 million na tayo,” he said.

Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the research failed to consider differences in health systems among countries.

She, however, assured that the DOH will still study the findings and consider it in improving its COVID-19 response.

The Philippines has recorded 178,022 COVID-19 cases thus far. Of this number, 114,114 have recovered while 2,883 have died. The active cases have reached 61,025.—AOL, GMA News