Expert sees spike anytime as PH logs highest new cases since May 1
A surge in COVID-19 cases is expected to occur two weeks after the May 9 elections, an infectious disease expert said Sunday.
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases was to be expected after superspreader events such as campaign rallies, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit of the San Lazaro Hospital.
Still, he said the rise in infections will not affect the hospitalization rate, as the cases are expected to be mild.
“From what we see in the Omicron BA 2.12, those who are affected only manifest symptoms of cold, fever, and a little cough. Usually, the symptoms disappear after three to five days. So we expect that it will not be like last year when many went to the hospital,” Solante said.
The rainy season could also see the spread of COVID-19, he said.
Solante earlier said that if no surge occurred two weeks after the elections, this meant that protection against COVID-19 remained high in the country.
The country on Saturday logged 246 new COVID-19 cases, the highest since May 1, amid the threat of the emergence of Omicron subvariants.
This is the highest in nearly three weeks, the Department of Health (DOH) said based on its data.
The new cases brought the country’s total COVID-19 caseload so far to 3,688,751.
Of the new cases, 120 come from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Based on the latest count, 3,626,038 people have recovered from the disease while 60,455 have died from it.
The independent monitoring OCTA Research Group earlier warned that cases in Metro Manila have increased by 17 percent.
Their data showed that the average daily cases rose to 71 percent from 59 average daily cases logged from May 6 to 12.
The DOH earlier announced that it detected Omicron BA.4, a variant of concern, from a Filipino who traveled from the Middle East last May 4.
The patient is an asymptomatic case.
“DOH has been coordinating with the concerned LGUs [local government units] since confirmation of the case to rapidly implement detection and isolation activities,” the DOH said in a statement.
“BA.4’s faster transmission is likely because of its ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection and/or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time. While the ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) has not observed any change in severity for BA.4 compared to other Omicron subvariants, we must be careful because faster transmission will lead to a spike in cases that could overwhelm our hospitals and clinics,” the department added.
On Tuesday, the Health department said it had detected local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, said local transmission is not the same as community transmission.
“This is not a community transmission where the infection is already so widespread that linkages cannot be traced anymore,” she said.
The government recently announced that it has detected 17 cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, two of them in Metro Manila.
The subvariant is said to be 27 percent more transmissible than BA.2, the dominant Omicron subvariant in the Philippines and the rest of the world.
The DOH earlier warned a fresh COVID-19 surge is possible if a new immune-escaping variant of the coronavirus enters the country.