The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already here in the Philippines.
As of today, the current count is 24 confirmed cases, and this number will further increase as the days go by. As of March 10, here are the current statistics:
As of 114,422 cases, there had been 4027 deaths (3.52%), and 64,088 recovered (56%).
While Mainland Chinese were the first 3, the rest of the infected were travel-loving Filipinos
In the Philippines, there are 20 patients who are affected as of this writing. The first 10 were as follows:
The next 10 cases were as follows:
Interestingly enough, only the first three initial cases were from Mainland China. The 44-year old male who died was a Wuhan local who came here to the Philippines for tourism. He died due to severe pneumonia as a result of the Coronavirus. His 38-year old wife who was traveling with him was tested positive of Coronavirus and has now recovered.So the buck of the Chinese linkage stopped there.
Patients# 4 to 20 however were mostly Filipinos. Apparently, they got infected after traveling in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan which are popular tourist destinations and were during their travels and imported the disease back here.
So while it is true that the Coronavirus actually started in China (though this is debated widely on the Internet as many Mainland locals believe the conspiracy theory that it was the Westerners who sneaked the disease into China), it was actually Filipinos visiting other countries who shipped the disease back here. Out of the first 20, the first 3 were Mainland Chinese, two were Taiwanese, and two were American. The rest of the 13 patients were all Filipino.
Most of the infected and dead are from China.
To put everything in perspective, 80,754 out of the 114,422 patients of the current infections comes from Mainland China. As of today, 3,136 people (3.88%) died are from China. As there are 4,027 deaths due to the Convid-19, this means that 77.9% of the dead from this infection came from China.
This means that while there are many people who are infected, NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE DYING.
China has relatively contained their outbreak after quarantining a few cities. Reports have shown that emergency beds erected in China to combat the virus now stand empty. 70% of those infected had now been discharged.
Chinese hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients a few weeks ago now have empty beds. Trials of experimental drugs are having difficulty enrolling enough eligible patients. And the number of new cases reported each day has plummeted the past few weeks.
These are some of the startling observations in a report released on 28 February from a mission organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese government that allowed 13 foreigners to join 12 Chinese scientists on a tour of five cities in China to study the state of the COVID-19 epidemic and the effectiveness of the country’s response. The findings surprised several of the visiting scientists. “I thought there was no way those numbers could be real,” says epidemiologist Tim Eckmanns of the Robert Koch Institute, who was part of the mission.
But the report is unequivocal. “China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic,” it says. “This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.”
According to the report, Coronavirus in China has peaked in late January and has dropped significantly since then. “On 10 February, when the advance team of the WHO-China Joint Mission began its work, China reported 2478 new cases. Two weeks later, when the foreign experts packed their bags, that number had dropped to 409 cases. (Yesterday, China reported only 206 new cases, and the rest of the world combined had almost nine times that number.)”
China was most aggressive with its movement to stop the virus, specifically, the lockdown of Wuhan and Hubei, putting 50 million people mandatory quarantine since January 23, effectively stopping them from infecting the rest of the country.
Aggressive “social distancing” measures implemented in the entire country included canceling sporting events and shuttering theaters. Schools extended breaks that began in mid-January for the Lunar New Year. Many businesses closed shop. Anyone who went outdoors had to wear a mask.
Two widely used mobile phone apps, AliPay and WeChat—which in recent years have replaced cash in China—helped enforce the restrictions, because they allow the government to keep track of people’s movements and even stop people with confirmed infections from traveling. “Every person has sort of a traffic light system,” says mission member Gabriel Leung, dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. Color codes on mobile phones—in which green, yellow, or red designate a person’s health status—let guards at train stations and other checkpoints know who to let through.
Drones were used to socially police people into wearing a mask, and to order them to follow the rules. People were asked to go home if they leave their houses without masks.
It was also an opportune time because it was Chinese New Year and businesses usually stop manufacturing this time as everyone spent their one month vacation with family. Even the bustling Shanghai became a literal ghost town as locals stayed at home and self-quarantined.
“As a consequence of all of these measures, public life is very reduced,” the report notes. But the measures worked. In the end, infected people rarely spread the virus to anyone but members of their own household, Leung says. Once all the people in an apartment or home were exposed, the virus had nowhere else to go and chains of transmission ended. “That’s how the epidemic truly came under control,” Leung says. In sum, he says, there was a combination of “good old social distancing and quarantining very effectively done because of that on-the-ground machinery at the neighborhood level, facilitated by AI [artificial intelligence] big data.”
A day ago, Italy forced 16 million people to quarantine especially in the Lombardy and North Italy area. Today, Italy is reported to have quarantined the entire country.
Italy reports the highest number of infected at 9,172 patients as of today. Ninety-seven people have died of the novel coronavirus since Sunday in Italy, bringing its total number of deaths to 463 (5% of those infected in Italy). The country has 9,172 cases so far, the most of any European count, or a whopping 8% of those globally infected with COVID-19.
This is not much of a surprise as Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Mainland Chinese. For them, it is most likely true that the Mainland Chinese brought disease on its doors.
Venice lies empty as everyone stays at home. There are no tourists in the streets.
Rome is empty for a weekday night.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in all 20 Italian regions.Italians is now on lockdown as everyone is asked to stay at home.
South Korea is the second most infected country at 7,513 cases (6.57% infected)
South Korea has the second highest due to a funny fact —- The spike seems to have happened after a 61-year-old “super-spreader” infected 43 other members of a fringe religious group called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. More than half of South Korea’s total infected patients are either members of the religious group or had contact with a church member.
Heart Attack, Stroke and Pneumonia has Killed More Filipinos but Nobody Cared
The Philippines is a slightly different matter.
While it is a potential lethal disease, we have to see Coronavirus using the right context. For one, based on the initial findings, COVID-19 is still in the lower range of people who die at a fatality rate of 0.7 to 3.4%.
Most of the infections are mild — 80.9% of those who have it say it’s more like a flu. 20% of the time is more severe and requires hospitalization. That is why, many hospitals in Manila are no longer accepting patients with mild-like symptoms. If they did this, there will be overcrowding in the hospital, and they will not be able to prioritize those with urgent cases. Most cases of Coronavirus is not serious and only requires you to stay at home.
Compare this to Pneumonia that claimed the lives of 57, 089 Filipinos every year over the last decade. According to the latest WHO data published in 2017, Influenza and Pneumonia Deaths in Philippines reached 75,970 or 12.27% of total deaths.
Did we hear any of this in the news and panicked? Here are the leading causes of deaths in the Philippines, none of which is the COVID-19:
Even though so many Filipinos died of pneumonia every year, nobody really cared. Life went on. Coronavirus is nothing compared to this. So far, only ONE patient has died and he is not even a Filipino but a Wuhan tourist who was infected in China and died here during his trip. That’s not really a lot.
The Philippines is not even part of this top fatalities list made by the John Hopkins Hospital. Until I see the numbers of people infected with Coronavirus are dying here in the Philippines, I will stay calm and move on.
In 2017, 235 people died due to fatal road crashes in the Philippines. In 2018, 204 people died. To put it in context, as of today, only 1 person who died of Coronavirus in the Philippines, and that person is not even Filipino! The 44 year old man was a Mainland Chinese who was a resident of Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease. His wife who is 38 years old has already recovered and was already discharged.
This is a big killer of Filipinos — this is the belly of a typical Filipino man. This is not the stomach of a pregnant woman.
Actually, many other diseases kill humans more than the Coronavirus. Tuberculosis kills 53.8x more people than Coronavirus. 43x more people die from Hepatitis B per day than Coronavirus. See the surprising chart below:
COVID-19 is More Lethal to Senior Citizens with Pre-Existing Respiratory Issues
What’s most important is that among those who die, two-thirds are men. Most who died are elderly and over 60 years old with pre-existing diabetes, heart or some kind of respiratory/lung disease. Interestingly, there has been ZERO deaths of kids 10 years old and below:
Scientists have reasoned that out of the 3,136 deaths from China, 22.8% are senior citizens at least 70 years old. It is theorized that this is because Chinese men tend to smoke more excessively and have more serious lung problems due to pollution exposure, hence, have poor respiratory systems, making them more susceptible to the COVID-19.
Out of those infected, chances of you dying if you have no pre-existing conditions are at a low 0.9%. Usually, those who die are those with pre-existing ailments like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respirator disease, hypertension and cancer.
Let us go back to the above chart — 4,027 people have died as of today. Out of the 4,027 people who died, 3,136 are from China or 77.87% of the deaths. That means that only 22% of the deaths are outside China.
Why are the Italians dying most?
What’s perplexing is why the Italians are dying — 463 has already died (or a whopping 11.5% of the global dead). That’s a LOT and a strong cause for alarm. But if you understand the context, you would be less perplexed.
So that explains it.
What about the Americans?
On this chart, you can see an alarming fact — the Americans have a 5.9% death rate compared to the rest of the world. What happened to the Americans? Are they made of weaker stuff than the Chinese?!
Interestingly, the Life Care Center of Kirkland Wash., the epicenter of the problem, had a whopping 13 people confirmed to have died of the Coronavirus!
To be fair, many Americans who died are concentrated in a single home for the aged. Somehow, somewhere, someone got infected and thus infected the rest of their friends at the retirement home!
Eleven others died in the last 2½ weeks of as-yet-unknown causes. That’s 50% of the entire USA’s statistics of people who died due to the Coronavirus. Here’s the photo of the nursing home that lay in the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in the USA.
More retirement homes are reporting COVID-19 like symptoms. Still, the consistency of those affected showed that it is the old people who are most vulnerable at the moment, and less of the general population.
So far, there has been 27 who died, but before you judge, look at the numbers. Many of those who died are old people from retirement homes, consistent to the COVID-19 pattern of hitting the seniors, and not the juniors.
The problem is that Coronavirus is very similar to the Common Cold
“How do you know you have Coronavirus?” my staff asked me yesterday. “I have a cold and a fever for 3 days.”
I told her to eat some medicine and monitor her health. If her situation gets worse, then I encouraged her to see a doctor. Regardless, I don’t think that she has the disease because she’s now based in Batangas, which is very far away from all the known confirmed cases of the COVID-19. Most likely, all she had are the normal cold and flu, common during these flu season.
It is highly possible though that the panic is due to the fact that it’s so hard to find out whether you have the disease or not. For one, as earlier mentioned, most people only have mild symptoms. So you may be a carrier but you don’t even know it!
That’s why if you have a flu, most likely, unless your symptoms blow up, you will just combat it with Neozep, Decolgen or stay at home.
Here’s another confusing graph that shows you if you have the COVID-19 virus. I now have dry cough so does this mean I have Coronavirus?:
Confusing, eh? If I’m confused, you should be too. Here’s another comparison chart:
This is another chart by Fox61 that is helpful but is not really.
So why not test everyone?
Apparently, tests are expensive at Php 5,000 to Php 8,000 a pop if reports are to believed. Testing are not given to the general population but rather for those who exhibit Coronavirus symptoms and have traveled recently to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong.
I know for a fact that St. Luke’s BGC and Quezon City are no longer accepting patients with flu-like symptoms.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you are usually directed to three hospitals — Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Sta. Ana Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital — which are the designated hospitals to combating the Coronavirus.
So why am I not Panicking?
However, instead of panicking, I urge you to CALM DOWN for the following reasons:
- It’s NOT Ebola which as a higher fatality rate of 50%.
This is how Ebola progresses:
This is way scarier than COVID-19.
2. Fatality Rate is Relatively Low and Selective — While there are more infected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus compared to other major viruses at 102 countries infected, and 114,422 confirmed cases, fatality rate is still relatively low at 3.5% and mostly affects very senior citizens who have respiratory problems.
3. Only ONE has died so far in the Philippines — While there are people who died, the only one person who have so far died was a Mainland Chinese tourist. There is one American who is in ICU, but he is still alive. He is 86 years old though, so he’s very very senior and is most at risk.
Rather than the number of people infected, I am more concerned about the number of people who DIED. So long as this number keeps to a minimal, nobody that I know of has died, and the deaths follow the pattern of global deaths (old people with respiratory problems), I will stay calm, still go to work and wash my hands.
Because I will not worry if people get sick. Contracting the Coronavirus is not the problem that keeps me up at night. DYING from Coronavirus is.
4. It is surprisingly not airborne as you think. You don’t really get Coronavirus by breathing the same air as an infected patient. You get it by touching the same things he/she touched and then putting it in any of your crevices.
That’s why everyone recommends handwashing and making your body strong by drinking Vitamin-C to combat it. It’s really that simple.
5. The new virus is more active in cold weather —- Filipinos have a tendency to be in the outdoors too so they’re not nakakulong in a single air-conned room for long periods of time.
Interestingly, Indonesia still have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Their leader credits the weather. Whether or not that is true is still undecided given that it’s such a new disease. However, influenza and cold infections do usually don’t spread as much during the hot summer months.
“There’s a variety of reasons that influenza and cold infections plummet in the summer, but a major one is that that warm, humid weather can make it harder for respiratory droplets to spread viruses.
“The droplets that carry viruses do not stay suspended in humid air as long, and the warmer temperatures lead to more rapid virus degradation,” says Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University.”
So yes, the disease is here. Now what?
The most important thing to combat this disease is to CALM DOWN, be vigilant and careful, and wait it out.
The problem with many Fililpinos is that they have poor reading comprehension and blindly believe every Tom, Dick and Harry who give them doomsday scenarios. Take for example this announcement sent yesterday:
All I can say is — People’s overreaction and level of stupidity can be legendary.
Fear of the unknown is the enemy here. I don’t think it’s useful to worry about things that has yet to happen, and it’s better to stick to what is fact.
The numbers still don’t inspire fear for me —- 1 death from a China national (toinks) and a reasonable 20 cases out of 12.8 million people living in Metro Manila. So what if there are more people who are infected? Anyone with a basic understanding of exponential know that this number will naturally go up.
The most important thing is that THEY DO NOT DIE.
People are instilling fear right now. They want you to distrust the government, the DOH and go out to buy surgical masks and hand sanitizers at insane markups. Toilet paper is hoarded and fought over in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
There is some herd mentality that forces people to hoard toilet paper. Filipinos do not usually hoard toilet paper as we have the tabo (dipper) to tide us through:
Radar juju you wear that claims to kill bacteria (Note: It does not work). A lot of businesses are charging premium prices for average products in exchange for peace of mind, even though their products do not really work.
Surgical masks are now sold out and it’s really hard to get supply:
But perfectly healthy people hoard the stash and then resell them.
People are making money in scaring people! Check out what my friend posted today:
Calm down, people.
The danger is here but it’s still so far away.
For those who are 60 years old and above should take extra care and stay at home. Everyone should of course be vigilant. But please do not panic just yet unless it evolves and has a higher fatality rate than it does have right now.
I am supposed to go to Bali in April. My mom wants me to cancel my trip. I think we are still far away from that moment and I will only do something different once something alarming comes out…. which has not happened YET.
Let’s sound the alarm bells when that happens.
Till that time, calm down and wash your hands. This is way way better than using any sanitizer, magic anting anting, or mask.
It’s important to keep things in perspective. So as for now, let’s stay vigilant, calm down and wash your hands.