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Vergeire on flattening COVID-19 curve in September: Nothing is certain at this point

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Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said she cannot tell if the COVID-19 curve in the country will flatten in September as projected by some experts from the University of the Philippines.

Interviewed on GMA Network’s Unang Hirit, Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) will still consider the projection in setting up interventions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“Hindi pa natin masasabi. Nothing is certain at this point.  Although, itong mga models na ito, itong mga forecast na ito, tinitignan natin para magabayan din po natin ang ating response kung paano tayo magkakaroon ng interventions,” she said.

“Pero hindi pa po natin masasabi sa ngayon kung ito na 'yung peak at kung makakapag-flatten tayo ng curve pagdating po ng katapusan ng September,” she added.

Vergeire made the statement when asked if the 194,000 current total number of cases could be the ‘peak’ amid the projection of experts that the  COVID-19 curve will flatten in September.

On Monday, experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) - OCTA Research team said the number of COVID-19 cases is on the downward trend and approaching a flattened curve towards September.

The R-naught (R0), which describes the reproduction of COVID-19 cases, dropped from 1.5 in end of July to 1.1 now in August, according to the experts. An R0 below 1 means a flattened curve.

However, they warned that the trend could be reversed if the public and the government become complacent with the improvement.

Vergeire said the capacity of the healthcare system should also be considered not only the number of COVID-19 cases in assessing the situation of the country amid the pandemic.

“We just need to understand na kapag tinignan natin ang ating mga datos kailangan kasama po niyan sa pag-aaral 'yung ating capacity ng health system. So it is not just number of cases,” she said.

According to Vergeire, the management of COVID-19 cases and the healthcare system is doing well.

As of Monday, the DOH reported 194,252 COVID-19 cases, with 132,042 recoveries and 3,010 fatalities. — Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA News

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