Philippines faces rising COVID infections, dengue cases

Performers dressed as superhero characters pose with a child receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at a gym in San Juan City, Philippines on February 7, 2022. (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)
Performers dressed as superhero characters pose with a child receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at a gym in San Juan City, Philippines on February 7, 2022. (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

According to data from the Department of Health (DOH), COVID-19 cases in the Philippines grew by 39% in the week ending July 10 from the week before, with the average daily count at almost 1,500. Meanwhile, more than 65,000 had been infected by dengue from January to late June, a 90% increase from the same time period in 2021.

The daily coronavirus count last breached the 1,000 mark in early-March. However, only 17% of intensive care unit beds are occupied.

Amid the rising COVID-19 and dengue infections in the country, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is yet to announce his administration’s health chief.

Dengue cases

In a briefing on Tuesday (July 12), Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that 15 out of 17 regions in the country have already surpassed the epidemic threshold for dengue.

Vergeire explained that the number of dengue cases recorded in the 15 regions breached the expected number of infections based on past trends or figures in the previous years during the same period.

It is worrisome kasi nakikita na sabay-sabay ang mga rehiyon na nagtataas ng kaso. It is worrisome because on top of COVID-19, we are looking at dengue cases also increasing,” said Vergeire.

[It is worrisome because we can see that the regions’ cases are rising at the same time. It is troubling because on top of COVID-19, we are also looking at increasing dengue cases.]

In a separate advisory, the DOH enumerated the regions that have exceeded the dengue epidemic threshold from May 29 to June 25: Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, BARMM, CAR, and Metro Manila.

Vergeire has earlier cited the increase in mobility as restrictions ease as one of the causes of higher dengue cases.

“Less interaction among people, schools were closed, so as with other establishments,” she said. “People were at home most of the time, and this contributed to lesser infections”.

Rise in COVID-19 cases

As per DOH’s report on July 12, the country’s active COVID-19 infections have continued to climb to 14,464, which brings the nationwide caseload to 3,721,413 with 3,646,309 recoveries and 60,640 deaths.

Additionally, the Health Department added that the bed occupancy rate in the country remains at 21%, which translates to 6,107 occupied beds in hospitals nationwide out of 29,018.

Marcos, who has been in isolation after being infected with COVID-19, said that he plans to ramp up vaccinations and fix “shortcomings” in pandemic response.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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