"The positivity rate is rising."
Kudos to President Duterte for doing the right thing, heeding our plea to place Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6-20.
Though it may not be favored by many of our kababayan, I thought it was wise for the President to do so to quell the clear and present danger of surge in COVID-19 and coronavirus Delta variant spread.
It surfaced Friday morning that Metro Manila mayors’ appeal for a two-week ECQ, which was coursed through Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos, did not even reach the President.
It turned out the MMDA official’s presentation made via a Zoom meeting with the Malacanang’s inter-agency task force (IATF) was reportedly “muted” all throughout, implying that Manong Digong had been misinformed and misled about the COVID-19 trends on the ground, particularly the emergence of Delta variant cases.
Just as the OCTA research team had projected, July 31 data showed that Delta variant cases in the national capital region (NCR) spiked 40 percent from the previous week with a total of 1, 279.
In the span of days, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III who also heads the IATF insisted there was “no evidence of surge.”
Over 8,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in three straight days July 30-August 1, increasing the country’s aggregate cases to 1, 597, 689, at least 63, 646 of which are active.
Duque even ordered the issuance of a DOH public advisory last Wednesday night warning against information released by independent groups like OCTA that may cause public “panic and confusion.”
The DOH chief and IATF head opposed placing NCR-Plus under ECQ and recommended that Metro Manila remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.
Duque was quoted as saying the government has yet to determine whether there are available funds for social amelioration or ayuda for Metro residents during a two-week ECQ lockdown.
In support of OCTA’s recommendation for a “circuit breaker” that would avert a metrowide Delta transmission, I enjoined Manong Digong to lend an ear to the OCTA experts and Metro Manila mayors appeal for a two-week ECQ.
Time and again, the UP-based interdisciplinary research team OCTA has proven its scientific findings and projections right on the money.
I believe that an uncontrolled spread Delta variant, which is reportedly more infectious and deadly, will devastate the economy, trade and commerce even more if ECQ is imposed too late.
The President apparently agreed with us that a decisive implementation of more stringent protocols for the NCR-Plus areas will stem the stark specter of an India-like catastrophe that threatens to overwhelm our grossly inadequate and corrupt healthcare system, thanks to Duque and company.
It surfaced on Friday morning that Metro Manila local executives’ plea did not reach the President coursed through Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos, whose presentation before the IATF via Zoom meeting was reportedly “muted” all throughout.
This is the same tactic of downplaying figures, double talk and contrived public relations that the DOH has engaged in since last year instead of a no-nonsense public information drive about Covid-19 and the rollout of the government vaccination program.
The DOH must reach out to the farmers and fisherfolk in remote areas of the archipelago, speak their language and inform them about the vaccination program and the need to attain herd immunity.
The positivity rate is rising as more and more people take the RT-PCR test they can hardly afford while more and more people go out to get vaccinated.