Experts: Actual COVID-19 cases in the PH around 9,000

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque takes a COVID-19 swab test at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) during the opening of its testing center on Tuesday, April 21 in Mandaluyong City.
| photo by John Orven Verdote

Researchers from the University of the Philippines are claiming that the actual number of novel coronavirus cases in the country is higher than the current official tally reported by the Department of Health.

In a study published on Wednesday, April 22, the U.P. Team found that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 infection rates are higher with age.

“On the other hand, data from other countries suggest a percentage of the cases carry SARS-Cov2 virus but are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. This is more prevalent for those in the younger age group who are healthier and do not have health issues,” the report read.

It added, “This then suggests that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines is much higher, due not only to under-reporting, but also to asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases. A rough estimate of the number of true COVID-19 cases in the Philippines based on percentages of asymptomatic cases is 9,000.”

The researchers stressed the importance of mass testing, saying that mass testing and tracking of cases will help give a more accurate value for the number of COVID-19 cases as well as identify the silent spreaders.

“Mass randomized testing and contact tracing will help determine the actual number of cases, including asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases, and will help control the spread of COVID-19 by identifying and tracking the silent spreaders of the disease,” they said in the report.

The U.P. Team also recommended the extension of the enhanced community quarantine enforced in Luzon.

“One possible scenario caused by lifting the ECQ prematurely shows a surge in deaths from 650 to 3,800 and in the number of COVID-19 cases from 10,000 to 80,000 by May 31, 2020,” the experts said.

As of writing, there are a total of 6,981 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 462 fatalities and 722 recoveries.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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