Scientist suggests PH lockdown extension for 2-3 months

MANILA, Philippines – End or extend the lockdown? A Filipino scientist suggests for lockdown extension as the Philippines may only 'flatten the curve' or reduce the number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 2-3 months or expected in June 2020.
Scientist suggests PH lockdown extension for 2-3 months

“Based on the current data that is being generated from the Philippines, we have not yet flattened the curve...the estimate would be around 2 to 3 months before we could really flatten the curve, ” Dr. Darwin Bandoy Assistant Professor of the University of California, Davis, said in an interview with ANC.

The month-long enhanced community quarantine or lockdown imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte in Luzon, including Metro Manila to contain the spread of COVID-19 will expire on April 13.

The PhD candidate of Integrative Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California added that extension of the lockdown would lessen the number of infections.

“If we remove the enhanced community quarantine on April 13 and will resume to normal activity at April 14, the epidemic curve would rise again. So, based on these predictive models, I wouldn't recommend removing it so it should be extended..."


The scientist also cited some conditions before the government consider removing the lockdown.

"It should be extended until we meet the following conditions: we have the necessary healthcare capacity in terms of hospital beds, ventilators and if we can enforce social distancing on transportation, we can probably slowly introduce back to normal life."

Bandoy also said that Philippines only has around 1,500 ventilators with around 500 are in the capital region. “If our severe cases went beyond that, it would be like Italy. We would be selecting who will die or not,” he said.

Based on the data from World Health Organization, Italy now has more than 12,000 deaths, the most in any country affected by the pandemic. Meanwhile, death toll in the Philippines stands at 107 out of more than 2,633 cases as of Thursday, April 2.

He also stressed that mortality in the Philippines will increase in a do-nothing scenario.

"If we overburden the healthcare system in the Philippines, mortality rate will be higher because we will no longer service those that are severely ill."

He also declined opening schools as of the moment "because based on several studies, opening schools would promote further spread of the disease."

Meanwhile, he clarified that the model he used has limitations since the country has not yet conducted mass testing.

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that the first vaccine trial for COVID-19 has started. While they say that this is an incredible achievement, trial has begun just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was shared by China, the sad news is vaccines are still a long way from being available for public use.

WHO said that it could take up to 18 months with the needed safety approvals."There’s only one thing more dangerous than a bad virus and that’s a bad vaccine,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program said.

With these information, the vaccines could be available in the last quarter of 2021.

— The Summit Express

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