Second wave fiction

"The DOH, under Duque’s stewardship and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, under his chairmanship, never were able to bend the curve to create a plateau or flatten the curve."

Health Secretary Francisco Duque claimed before the Senate the other day that the second wave of upsurge in the spread in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has begun.

This is pure science fiction.

If there has been a second wave, when did the first wave start? When did the first wave end?

Data produced by the Department of Health daily does not support the claim of a second wave.

So the fiction of a second wave is a coverup for the Department of Health’s abject failure to flatten the curve.

The general understanding is that a second wave starts when after we flatten the curve, that is, brought down considerably the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths compared with the most recent comparable period, we ease up or reopen the economy. We allow people who had been cooped up in their cramped accesorias-cum-homes for months to go out and businesses which had been padlocked to reopen, although on a calibrated basis.

But due to carelessness and exuberance, people and companies let down their defenses. People don’t wear masks, lessen the number of times they wash their hands, and gather in groups of two, ten, and then hundreds inside malls or spreader events, without keeping the minimum six-foot physical distance, then the virus stages a comeback and infects nearly everyone in its wake. What results then is the so-called second wave. There is an upsurge of cases to begin a new rising wave.

The best way to measure if the virus has been under control and thus the first wave has ended is when there are no outbreaks for 14 consecutive days (because the gestation period of COVID-19 is up to 14 days). Then you can say you have flattened the curve.

In the case of the Philippines, the DOH, under Duque’s stewardship and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, under his chairmanship, never were able to bend the curve to create a plateau or flatten the curve.

It was a massive failure, a failure that cost the economy a minimum of P2 trillion, the loss of jobs of 32 million workers, the impoverishment of half of the total population (that’s 50 million), and widespread hunger and misery on an unprecedented scale as economic growth nose-dived to its worst rate in 36 years.

Thanks to Duque’s criminal negligence and incompetence, COVID-19 cases have just kept on surging without letup at nearly 300 cases per day. From seven to 25 Filipinos die from COVID-19 every day.

This is based on data that a group of University of the Philippines experts has found to be being manipulated. A COVID victim was declared dead yesterday only to be declared alive today. The sex of victims was changed, from male to female, from female to male. Their residence addresses were also manipulated, moved from one town to another.

Duque has haughtily defended the errors saying they constitute only one percent of the totals. One percent, however, constitutes many lives and families.

At this writing, there are now 13,221 confirmed COVID-19 cases, per Johns Hopkins. One percent of that is 132 people. Deaths are now 842. One percent of that is eight people.

What if in those eight, you had a power-tripping senator, an innocent cabinet member, or a nasty and recalcitrant general? Sure, they would not change the total outcome significantly (the Philippines is No. 39 in COVID-19 cases, worldwide, among more than 200 countries), but they will make the difference between sadness and joy, sense of triumph and defeat among the people.

Good riddance, you would exclaim to the power-tripping senator, or to the nasty general. Kawawa naman - you will pray for the innocent cabinet member.

Monitoring COVID-19 cases is not like conducting a survey where you allow for a margin of error, say of two to five percent, or of counting scalawags in the Philippine National Police of say, two percent.

By the way, two percent of the PNP force is not insignificant. Two percent is easily 4,000 policemen. Imagine if all of them behaved like NCR police chief Debold Sinas? The CIC would run out of excuses to coddle them.

Secretary Duque has failed in all four pillars of fighting covid: testing, tracing, treatment and TRUST. If Duque gets away with lies, no wonder General Sinas gets away with his birth date violations of legal health protocols.

Good thing Duterte is probably in no mood to reimpose another Luzon-wide lockdown because the cost has been tremendous and beyond belief. And it could destroy his presidency, so far the best of the last 60 years.

The first wave for the Philippines should have started when lockdown was imposed, March 17. Since then, things have worsened in number of cases and in number of deaths daily.

On March 17, there were only 45 cases a day. There were 224 new cases and 279 on May 20. On March 17 there were only 14 deaths daily. Up to May 12 deaths were still in double digits at 25 although in recent days deaths were suddenly single digit of 5 to 7 per day.

But remember, DOH figures are not dynamic and not reported as deaths happen. So since end April deaths have been seesawing from 28 on April 29 then suddenly to 11 on May 1 only to go up to 27 on May 7 then down to 7 on May 11 then up to 25 on May 12, only to drop to 5 on May 20. Maybe this what Duque refers to as "waves." There is a wave nearly every other day.

In such a situation best response is go surfing. The waves are good.

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Topics: Tony Lopez , Health Secretary Francisco Duque , Department of Health , DOH , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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