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NCR COVID-19 reproduction rate down to 0.61 —OCTA

The COVID-19 reproduction number in the National Capital Region went down to 0.61 for the week of October 2 to 8, OCTA Research said on Saturday.

This is lower than the 0.83 reproduction number for September 25 to October 1.

The 0.61 reproduction number is considered low risk.

Reproduction number is defined by the World Health Organization as the average number of people infected by one person in a susceptible population. In 2020, the basic reproduction rate of COVID-19 globally was estimated by the WHO as between 2 and 4.

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David on Twitter said the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in NCR is 2,140 for the week of Oct. 2 to 8. For Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, the seven-day average of new cases is 3,627.

The daily attack rate of the virus per 100,000 was at 15.32 for Oct. 2 to 8 in NCR, still considered high. However, this is lower than the 25.97 daily attack rate of the virus from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, considered critical.

The one-week growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in NCR is -41% for Oct. 2 to 8, from -17% for Sept. 25-Oct. 1.

The positivity rate —the rate at which people test positive out of all those tested — also improved to 13% (considered high) for Oct. 2 to 8 from the 17% (likewise high) a week before.

Healthcare utilization was at a low 53% for Oct. 2 to 8, from 57% (considered low as well) the prior week.

ICU occupancy meanwhile was at 71% (considered high) from Oct. 2 to 8, a slight improvement from the 75% (also considered high) from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

Overall then, OCTA said the NCR's risk level is now at moderate level based on data from Oct. 2 to 8, from the high risk level from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye on Saturday said the public should follow minimum health protocols and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Hindi porket bumaba ang reproduction number ay bababa na rin agad ang mga kaso... Matagal-tagal dapat na nasa below 1 tayo para makita ang pagbaba ng daily cases," Rye said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB.

(It doesn't mean that when the reproduction number goes down, the number of COVID-19 cases will also go down. The number should stay below 1 for some time for us to see a decline in the number of daily cases.)

"Nananawagan ang OCTA na sumunod ang lahat sa minimum health standards at magpabakuna kung hindi pa bakunado... Hindi puwede magpabaya, hindi puwedeng magpakakumpiyansa at dapat patuloy na mag-ingat," Rye added.

(OCTA is appealing to all to follow minimum health standards and get vaccinated if you are not yet vaccinated. We cannot be complacent but instead continue to take the necessary precautions.)

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday said they are hoping that the decline in the seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in NCR would continue.

"Itong pagbaba ng mga kaso from September 29 to October 5, ang daily average natin ay nasa 13,500 cases, seven-day moving average. Ito ay 23% lower [than the previous week]. Ang laki ng ibinaba nito from the week before na 17,500 average daily cases. Sana magpatuloy bumaba ng 45%, 50% this week," Duque said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(This decrease in [COVID-19] cases from September 29 to October 5, our daily average was at 13,500 cases, seven-day moving average. This is 23% lower [than the previous week]. This is a significant decline from the week before of 17,500 average daily cases. We hope the [average daily cases] will still go down to 45% or 50% this week.]

The DOH secretary said the positivity rate has also gone down.

"Tinitingnan natin kung patuloy ang downtrend, kung puwede na tayong magbaba from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 dito sa NCR," he added.

(We are monitoring if the downtrend continues, if we can then lower the Alert Level from 4 to 3 in NCR.)

Alert Level 4 is in effect in NCR until October 15, as part of the pilot testing of the implementation of the new five-level alert system, which started on September 16.

Areas under Alert Level 4 — the second highest alert level — are those with infections that are high or increasing while total beds and ICU beds are at high utilization rate.

Outdoor or al fresco dining is allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status of customers.

Indoor dine-in services are also allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the government COVID-19 task force approved the recommendation to increase by an additional 10% the allowable indoor capacities of dine-in services, in-person religious services, and personal care services in areas under Alert Level 4 for fully vaccinated individuals.

Curfew has also been set at 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The Philippines on Friday reported 10,670 new COVID-19 infections, driving up the total tally to 2,643,494 cases. —KG, GMA News