Briones: Looking at numbers

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

WELL, I guess for people who have been living in fear of getting infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), news that new cases in the country have exceeded 9,000 for the third straight day on Sunday, March 28, 2021, can be alarming.

It doesn’t help that the same report announced that the daily positivity rate nationwide soared to nearly 20 percent, which means that nearly one of every five tests conducted came up with a positive result.

According to SunStar Cebu’s Marites Villamor-Ilano, the 9,475 new cases the Department of Health logged on Sunday was “the third highest single-day count in the country after the 9,838 on March 26 and the 9,595 on March 27.”

No wonder then that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place the National Capital Region (NCR) and the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under enhanced community quarantine for the Holy Week from 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 29, until Easter Sunday, April 4, in a bid to contain Covid-19 transmission.

But let’s examine the breakdown of the active cases by the DOH.

As of Sunday, the country logged a total of 105,568 active cases.

I know. It’s a lot. But an overwhelming 95 percent of the new cases are considered mild plus the additional 2.5 percent that are asymptomatic and 0.43 percent that are moderate.

So let’s zero in on the numbers the general public is really interested in: severe cases, 0.8 percent, and critical cases, 0.7 percent. Now if you add 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent you get 1.5 percent that are critically ill.

Now what is 1.5 percent of 105,568? No, I’m asking since I’m not very good with percentages. But I can make a fair guess that it’s fewer than 2,000 patients who may or may not make it.

I don’t mean to sound glib. This pandemic is serious. I know a lot of Filipinos have lost family and friends to this disease. And my heart goes out to each and every one of them. I also know many friends who have family members who are at risk. Both my parents are in that category and so are my uncles and aunts and other countless relatives. I, too, worry.

But I know the drill. And so do they. We have had one year of practice. Trust me, we know what to do and what not to do. We can’t cower in fear each time there is a spike in cases. We’ve been told that this is normal.

The government’s recent action in the NCR Plus will affect the lives and livelihood of 25 million Filipinos.

Now you do the math.