Tell it to SunStar: Response to active cases article

·2 min read

Citing SunStar’s headline entitled “Cebu Province Hits 6,000 Active Cases” by Cherry Ann T. Lim, we ask: what does the editor seek to achieve? What purpose does this serve? Is it to set the stage for Cebu to be placed under another hard lockdown?

At the outset, we find no cogent reason why the editor wrote an article that undermined Cebu’s Covid-19 response efforts other than to encourage fear and stir panic among Cebuanos.

Particularly, there is a variance between the data sourced from the Department of Health and cited by Ms. Lim when she reported that Cebu Province “breached the 6,000 mark in active cases on Sunday, August 22, 2021” since, upon verification with the Provincial Government’s own data, the active cases were only 4,918, where 3,268 are symptomatic and 521 are asymptomatic. The variance in the data of active cases rests solely in the reporting mechanism since reports submitted to the Department of Health from different local government units are delayed in contrast to the direct reporting mechanism of the Provincial Government - real time reporting.

On lockdowns, and as early as October 2020, the World Health Organization appealed to world leaders, advising them to stop using lockdowns as a primary control method to contain the Covid-19 virus. Only recently, the Department of Health, through DOH Spokesperson Rosarie Vergeirie, already acknowledged that prolonged lockdowns may no longer be effective in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

Instead, the country should abandon the “zero transmission” model and seriously consider the proposal of Singapore towards a new normal where we will no longer report daily Covid-19 cases. The focus would shift to monitoring outcomes, like how many patients require hospitalization or intensive care and reporting deaths, in the same way seasonal flu outbreaks are monitored.

We urge the editor to practice caution and be more circumspect in writing articles that touch on the Covid-19 situation in Cebu. She is advised to first verify her sources, especially on the number of active cases, with the Provincial Government’s data for accuracy in her articles.

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