UP Experts Predict More Than Half a Million COVID-19 Cases by End of 2020

But our basic reproduction number is moving closer to 1.

ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) More than seven months after the Philippines reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, our total count has now exponentially increased to 226,440 as of September 2. And it looks like numbers will continue to rise as the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team updates their projection to include stats all the way until the end of the year. Experts now predict that the Philippines' total number of cumulative COVID-19 cases may reach 585,216 based on the mean (or the average of a given data set) by December 31. The projected number of active cases is at 68,856 (mean), while projected number of deaths is at 7,574 (mean) by end of 2020. This information is available online through endcov.ph.

See graphs below:

Projection of the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph
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Data shows the mean (or the average of a data set), plus or minus the standard deviation (amount of variation or dispersion of a set of values), and the upper and lower bounds.
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph
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The graph takes into consideration the number of actual cumulative cases in the Philippines, which started at one on January 30 and rose to 220,781 cases on August 31. From September 1 to December 30, data shows an upward trend. Total number of COVID-19 cases by the end of the year can fall between 402,821 (lower bound) to 767,611 (upper bound); and taking standard deviation into account, the range is between 548,737 to 621,695.

Projected number of active cases is at 68,856 by December 31.
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph
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Projected number of total deaths is at 7,574. 
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph
Projected R0 is 1.16. Pronounced r-naught, this is the basic reproduction number that determines how many more people will be infected by one infected person.
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph

R0 (pronounced r-naught) is predicted to be at 1.16 by the end of 2020. An average R0 that's greater than one means that the infection will spread exponentially, while a number less than one means that the infection will spread slowly and eventually die out. The higher the value of R0, the faster an epidemic will progress.

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An "epidemic curve" shows the frequency of new cases over time based on the date of onset of disease.
PHOTO BY website/endcov.ph

Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research Team explained on August 24 that there was a large chance that the epidemic curve of COVID-19 may flatten by September. This was after Metro Manila returned to a two-week modified enhanced community quarantine early in August. He explained that the COVID-19's reproduction rate went down from 1.5 to 1.1. But he clarified that it may take one or two months before the number of cases reach a "very manageable" level.

"Hindi naman ibig sabihin flatten iyong curve, tapos na… Kaya kailangan, talagang continuous iyong effort natin. Hindi tayo puwedeng magpabaya kasi puwedeng magka-surge ulit iyan," David said in article by ABS-CBN.

The UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team is a team of 200 professors, researchers, alumni, and students from the entire University of the Philippines system—from Baguio to Mindanao. Specializations include epidemiology, emergency medicine, public health, veterinary medicine, computer science, data science, disaster science, mathematics, statistics, economics, geography, public administration and governance, social work and community development, and political science. The team is also in close collaboration with academics from the National University of Singapore, University of California Davis, and University College London.

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They've not only been giving projections based on math and statistics, but also making sure that the general public is well informed about the pandemic by distributing policy notes in major Philippine languages like Tagalog, Ilokano, Sebwano, Aklanon, and more. All information, including case overview and epidemic curves, are found online through endcov.ph.

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