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PH passed the 'worst' of Omicron wave, says infectious disease expert

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- The Philippines has passed the worst of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants called 'the wave' as communities across regions begin to develop a form of ‘population immunity.’

"We have passed the worst of the BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants, we have passed the wave of cases… and because of this decrease, there has been immunity against BA.5,” infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante said during the televised Laging Handa public briefing last Thursday.

Solante attributed the lowest recorded Covid-19 positivity rate in the country for the past six months to the increasing number of fully-vaccinated and boosted population, which has developed the anti-body against the BA.5.

In the National Capitol Region, the positivity rate dipped to its lowest at 7.8 percent, not exceeding 2,000 active cases compared to two-three months ago. In other highly-populated regions and cities such as Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Davao, significant decrease was observed at less than a thousand COVID-19 cases.

With this trend, Solante said the public can expect the number of cases to continue to decline, which also means lower hospital utilization rate, including ICU (intensive care unit) cases.

Solante noted that superspreader events such as the past week’s Undas celebration where have an incubation period of 7-10 days after the event.

He added the probability of an uptick may be observed on the second or third week of November. Those infected, especially the ones who will be hospitalized will be examined for any severe conditions developed, particularly those belonging to the vulnerable population.

As the Christmas season approaches, considered another superspreader event, Solante said projections are difficult as there are several factors to consider, but he hopes that the entry of new Omicron subvariants can be prevented.

“Let’s not be complacent during Christmas gatherings and continue to follow health protocols especially wearing of masks indoor," Solante said.(MBR/PIA-PMD)

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Melanie Ronquillo

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