Covid uptick normal, says expert

There is nothing extraordinary in the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, infectious disease expert Dr. Joseph Adrian Buensalido said Wednesday.

In an interview with Daily Tribune’s Gising Na!, Buensalido said that there is nothing shocking about the recent increase in the number of cases considering that the country was able to maintain the low number of cases in the past months.

“Actually, we were in a good place before May? The number of cases during that time was really low, however, we relaxed our protocols, and we lifted the testing requirement for incoming travelers,” he said.

Likewise, he attributed the recent increase in the emergence of Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered more transmissible than the original strain of the coronavirus.

Based on the data from the Department of Health, the country reported the detection of 17,891 Covid-19 cases logged from 19 to 25 September, which is 22 percent higher compared to the cases reported from 12 to 18 September.

Despite the recent increase in cases, Buensalido expressed his belief that the Philippines will be in a better position soon in terms of Covid-19 situation.

“The good news is from the start of the year, the Covid-19 was weakened largely because of what we are doing such as masking, physical distancing and of course, the effects of the vaccine,” he explained.

“So these days, the majority of cases are those who are considered vulnerable. There are still who contracted Covid-19 that need to be admitted to hospital but at the very least it is not that scary unlike in 2020,” he added.

Buensalido also said that the government’s decision to lift the mandatory wearing of masks in outdoor settings is “reasonable,” citing that it would cost no harm as long as it is not in a crowded area.
“It is not reasonable (masking outdoors) because if you are not wearing a mask outdoors, alone and with no physical contact with anyone, you will not get it,” he said.

“However, we still recommend wearing your mask if you are in an outdoor setting with a large crowd. We do not know who among them has the coughs or symptoms. Let us just protect ourselves,” he added.

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