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Police officers checking if passengers of a bus have quarantine passes. (File photo  Philippine Daily Inquirer)

PH in fourth, ‘most severe’ COVID-19 wave Philippine College of Physicians

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) -- The Philippines is experiencing its fourth and “most severe” wave of COVID-19 infections without any sign of the virus spread slowing down, the president of the Philippine College of Physicians warned on Sunday.
The current positivity rate, or the number of infected among tested individuals, was just too high at nearly 30 percent, as opposed to only 5 percent to indicate a situation is under control.
“Definitely at this point, and this is my personal (opinion), this is already unacceptable,” said Dr Maricar Limpin.
She said the current wave was likely fueled by the Delta variant as cases continued to surge even when vaccines have become available.
In a text message, she said Delta was the most virulent so far and highly transmissible, with some fully vaccinated healthcare workers still succumbing to the disease.
In a health workers’ forum on Sunday, Limpin agreed with the Department of Health’s (DOH) assessment that the current wave has yet to reach its peak, even after a single-day case count of more than 26,000.
Limpin referred to a September 9 article published in the online media platform “The Conversation” that identified the Philippines’ first wave in April 2020, which was “modest” with a peak of 316 seven-day rolling case average.
In August 2020, the Philippines experienced its second wave, peaking at 4,300 daily cases. It was also when doctors called for a “timeout.”
“We equated that ‘timeout’ to the last two minutes in a basketball game when you huddle and talk about strategies to win. At that time, we didn’t know much yet in terms of treatment and quarantine. We did what the US and Europe were doing,” she said.
Limpin said the third wave occurred in April 2021 and it reached a peak of 11,000 average daily cases.
The previous waves, however, were nothing compared with the present surge. Limpin said that this time, the number of cases and deaths were much higher.
One contributing factor to the increase in fatality, she noted, was that patients were dying while looking for hospitals to help them.
The government reported a 77 percent utilisation rate of intensive care units (ICUs), but Limpin said the situation was different in the hospital emergency rooms.

(Latest Update September 20, 2021)

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