COVID-19 Crisis: Slight rise in Metro Manila’s COVID-19 positivity rate was due to holiday frenzy according to OCTA Research

As far as Metro Manila goes, the slight increase of the COVID-19 positivity rate was caused not by the media-magnified Omicron variant but by the holiday frenzy according to OCTA Research in an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

The slight increase in Metro Manila’s Covid-19 positivity rate, average daily attack rate (ADAR), and reproduction rate was due to the holiday frenzy and not necessarily because of the Omicron variant, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Monday.

David said it is premature to say that the newest coronavirus variant had something to do with the spike in numbers.

Based on two-week growth rates (TWGR), David reported that the current reproduction number is at 0.85 percent while the ADAR in the National Capital Region (NCR) is at 0.82 percent.

The positivity rate slightly increased to 1.4 percent.

“So, hindi natin masasabi ngayon na Omicron-driven ito dahil nakita rin naman natin ito last year. Siguro doon sa pagtitipun-tipon ng mga kababayan natin kaya kailangan doble pag-iingat lang naman din ang kinakailangan natin (So we can’t really say that it is Omicron-driven because we have seen this last year. The gatherings might have caused this, so we just really need to be extra careful),” he said in a media briefing.

As of Monday, the country has 9,579 active Covid-19 cases, the 10th straight day that the tally was below 10,000.

Four cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed so far.

Just like last year, David noted that the Covid-19 testing slowed down as laboratories took a break and the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette affected the operations of some testing centers.

He said a “clear picture” as to how the Covid-19 cases suddenly increased might be available until the first week of January next year.

“Ang nangyari naman noong January this year lang, noong January of 2021, iyong uptick ay bumalik na siya sa normal level. So bumaba ulit siya. Iyon iyong sanang gusto nating makita ngayon na after January, kapag na-resolve na iyong testing, iyong kakulangan natin sa testing at iyong mga closed laboratories ay bababa ulit sa normal levels ang bilang ng kaso. Iyan iyong gusto nating mangyari (So, in January this year, the uptick went back to its normal level. So it went down again. So, that’s what we want to see after January [next year], if we resolved our backlogs in testing and in our laboratories, then the cases will go back to normal levels. That’s what we want to happen),” David said.

David sees no need yet to increase restrictions or push for premature interventions.

“It could just be a holiday uptick, which means na after the holidays, possibly bababa din iyong number of cases and iyong positivity rate (it is possible that the number of cases and the positivity rate will go down),” he added.

As I personally observed, a lot of people and families have been moving around not only because of the Alert Level 2 status of Metro Manila but also because of Christmas-related activities like shopping, touring and dining inside restaurants. I myself saw lots of people moving inside and around Festival Mall and the Alabang Town Center here in Muntinlupa City in the days leading to Christmas. Also there were families who had Christmas parties or small gatherings with relatives. Not even the news about the Omicron variant being present here in the Philippines impacted them. Fortunately for Filipinos, Omicron cases in the country are very few and all of those were detected from passengers who arrived from overseas. As of this writing, the Omicron variant has not been detected in the local population.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about this latest development? Do you believe OCTA Research’s analysis about the holiday frenzy being the factor behind the slight rise of COVID-19 positivity? Do you personally know people who still remained unvaccinated to this day? Are you aware about Sputnik vaccines being more effective against the Omicron variant (read a related article by clicking here) and that Pfizer’s vaccines are less effective?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.


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