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COVID worries 9 in 10 Pinoys

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At least 91 percent of adult Filipinos are worried that anyone in their immediate family might catch the coronavirus, a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted last November showed.

About 77 percent were “worried a great deal” and 14 percent were “somewhat worried” in the national survey conducted among 1,500 from November 21 to 25, 2020, the SWS said in a statement released January 7.

About 3% are worried a little, and 5% are not worried of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of more than 1.9 million people worldwide.

The November percentage of those worried about catching COVID-19 surpassed the previous record of 87% in May 2020, when SWS first surveyed about it, and it 6 points up from the 85% recorded in September 2020.

This developed as more than three-quarters of people hospitalized with COVID-19 still suffered from at least one symptom after six months, according to a study published Saturday that scientists said shows the need for further investigation into lingering coronavirus effects.

The research, which was published in the Lancet medical journal and involved hundreds of patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is among the few to trace the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

It found that fatigue or muscle weakness were the most common symptoms, while people also reported sleeping difficulties.

“Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, we are only beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patients’ health,” said lead author Bin Cao, of the National Center for Respiratory Medicine.

The Philippines on Saturday logged 1,952 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 485,797 cases, as seven laboratories failed to submit data on time, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.

The day’s figure is the highest daily tally since Dec. 18 when the country recorded 2,115 cases. However, the data for Saturday does not include results from the seven labs that were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) on January 8, the DOH said.

The health department earlier said the surge in new infections was possible as testing lagged over the holidays.

Davao City led areas in the country with the most newly confirmed cases with 143. It is followed by Quezon City with 98, Rizal with 80, Cavite with 77, and Bulacan with 74 confirmed infections.

The Department of Science and Technology said local experts would need more samples from COVID-19 patients to check whether the mutated variant of the virus has already entered the country.

“Ang sabi nga sa Philippine Genome Center, maganda sana kung makaka-700 sana kami ng mga samples,” Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena said during a public briefing.

The Philippine Genome Center has so far tested 350 samples taken from travelers coming from countries that have earlier reported the COVID-19 variant, but none have tested positive for the mutated virus so far.

A Filipina worker earlier tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant, more than a week after she arrived in Hong Kong. Dela Pena noted, however, that the Filipina was not infected with the virus by the time she boarded the plane in Manila.

Professor Bin Cao said the research highlighted the need for ongoing care for patients after they have been discharged from hospital, particularly those who have had severe infections.

The World Health Organization has said the virus poses a risk for some people of serious ongoing effects — even among young, otherwise healthy people who were not hospitalized.

The new study included 1,733 COVID-19 patients discharged from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan between January and May last year.

The SWS survey also revealed that Filipinos felt catching COVID-19 is greater than their worries about catching previous viruses such as Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The survey was the first to be done through in-person interviews since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to SWS, Filipinos are more worried about contracting the coronavirus than Americans, with only 59 percent of Americans worried based on the November survey of Gallup.

Worry about catching the virus rose in all areas, with the highest percentage in the Visayas at 96 percent. It was followed by Mindanao at 95 percent, Luzon outside Metro Manila at 89 percent and Metro Manila at 85 percent.

Among women, worry about contracting COVID-19 rose from 84 percent in September to 93 percent in November. Worry was also up among men from 85 percent to 90 percent.

Worry increased across all educational levels and age groups except among those aged 18 to 24 years old.

The sampling error margins are ±2.5% for national percentages, ±4% for Balance Luzon, and ±6% for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao. With AFP

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