April 19, 2024

In this article for ANC, infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology expert Dr. Benjamin Co breaks down the COVID-19 data being reported by the Department of Health to the public. According to Dr. Co, the case fatality in the Philippines is now at 6.74 (compared to 6.73 world average and 2.44 ASEAN average).

Dr. Co says that of the 114 deaths announced last May 6 to 11, 114 deaths were from 21 days ago, on the average. Moreover, of the current deaths recorded, 399 received posthumous results, meaning, these individuals died even before they were declared COVID-19 positive. He reiterates that latent reports are useless because it does not reflect the true status of the pandemic in the country. Moreover, delayed reports do not help determine whether chosen policies such as the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), or modified community quarantine (MCQ) makes any difference at all. 

Dr. CO’s discoveries also corroborates the findings of the UP Covid-19 Pandemic Response Team [see Errors in Philippines’ COVID-19 Data Spotted By Experts]

Editor’s Note: Before you panic on the relatively high death rate in the Philippines, note that there are many issues with the data [Nicanor has discussed some of the issues in his post Death Rate, Science, Lockdown, Fear, the “New Normal”, Vaccines, Social Control and the Immune System].

Dr. Co’s discoveries makes us wonder how the president and the national Inter Agency Taskforce (IATF) makes its decisions without timely data. Delay in reporting inadvertently causes people to think that COVID-19 cases are increasing, when in fact it is not. 

It is no wonder then that even as more countries around the world are slowly transitioning towards the Swedish model, the Philippines continues to insist that the best way to “preserve our gains” is to continue with community quarantines [Nicanor has published a new blog post on this. See The Avoided And Unanswered Question: People Just Don’t Get It!]. 

While I personally want to think that the move to extend lockdowns is all about prioritizing health and wellbeing of Filipinos, there is also a growing  realization that our leaders have no idea what they are doing. There is no national strategy being followed, and this is indicated by the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the reporting of COVID-19 data.

While there are LGUs doing outstanding work in creating transition plans, many are clueless, and are simply following the herd. This herd, unfortunately, is also being led by leaders who are frozen in fear of being blamed for possible negative consequences of their decision. 

Science and good common old sense is no longer being used to govern. Instead, our government is swayed by public opinion particularly in social media. Instead of actually preparing our health care system for the eventual easing of lockdowns, our politicians are busy bickering and protecting their reputations. Perhaps we should use that as an indicator instead. If our politicians can now focus on other things aside from COVID-19, maybe the threat isn’t so serious after all. 

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