IN CHARTS: COVID-19 cases in the Philippines

(11th UPDATE) – Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) has been issuing daily reports on the status of confirmed cases in the country. 

Over 6 months since the first confirmed case on January 30, the total number of cases in the Philippines already breached 130,000 on Monday, August 10.

The total number of new cases reported on August 10, at 6,958, is now the highest so far, surpassing the tally on August 4, which had 6,352 new cases.

At the end of June, the number of cases came close to reaching the 40,000-figure a group of experts predicted, on account of a still high reproduction number, which indicates the "transmission potential" of a disease. While the government declared this feat a "win," the total count eventually crossed 40,000 3 days later.

The same experts then projected that total cases may reach 60,000 by July 31. By mid-July, however, the country already hit that number. These experts then predicted 85,000 cases by the end of July. This threshold was breached on July 29.

The new projection by these experts is at least 150,000 cases by end-August.

When the number of new cases spiked in late May, the DOH's daily report started categorizing "fresh" cases – those whose test results were released within the last 3 days from reporting date – and "late" cases, or those with test results released after 4 days or more. They gradually did away with this method of reporting around mid-July.

The chart below shows the number of confirmed cases reported by the DOH per day, including the distinction between "fresh" and "late" cases from May 28 until late July: 

In its separate daily situation reports, the DOH uses the date of onset of illness (or in its absence, the date of specimen collection) to show the earliest occurrence of the virus in each case. This is prior to the further validation of the cases that allow their inclusion in the official counts.

Looking at this chart, using data as of August 10, the number of new cases per day started to go up around late May and June, and continued to rise in July, with the highest one-day count so far at 4,002 recorded on July 27.

Community quarantines in many areas around the country had been relaxed around June, but some had returned or remained under strict lockdowns since then.

Cumulative counts

As of August 10, a total of 66,186 of 136,638 cases were said to be active, making up 48.44% of all confirmed cases. Since March 8, when the country reached 10 cases, this rate had hovered above 60%. It went down to 25% on July 30, when the DOH reported over 38,000 recoveries due to a "mass recovery" adjustment.

See below how the total number for confirmed cases, active cases, deaths, and recoveries have progressed each day in the country, based on the DOH's data.

(Find out the breakdown of cases per major area: Metro Manila | Luzon | Visayas | Mindanao)

Deaths

As of August 10, there have been 2,293 deaths out of 136,638 confirmed cases in the country. This is equivalent to a case fatality rate of 1.68% for the Philippines. This is below the global case fatality rate of around 3.69%, based on data from the World Health Organization as of August 10.

As in the tally for total cases, there are delays in reporting out the deaths and adding them to the national tally. The DOH had explained that the recent spikes in reported COVID-19 deaths were due to "a delay in the submission of validated mortality cases" from local government units to the department's epidemiology bureau.

For instance, out of the single-day record of 162 deaths reported on July 12, the DOH said 20 died in May, 90 in June, and 51 in July.

Looking at the deaths by date of death, the DOH pointed to a downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 deaths, from a peak around late March.

As of August 10, only 2,217 of 2,293 reported deaths (or 96.69%) have dates of death and are labeled as "Died" in the DOH dataset. This means the chart for COVID-19 fatalities based on date of death is not yet the complete picture.

Below, switch between the chart for deaths by date reported and by date of actual death by clicking on the navigation arrow at the top-right corner. 

Recoveries

As of August 10, there have been 68,159 recoveries out of 136,638 confirmed cases in the country. This means a case recovery rate of 49.88% for the Philippines.

The most recoveries reported in a single day was 38,075, on July 30. The DOH explained that this sudden spike in recoveries was due to their implementation of a "mass recovery" adjustment on July 15, where all mild and asymptomatic cases were "re-tagged" as recoveries if they passed discharging criteria and were endorsed by regional health offices.

See below the chart for recoveries by date reported.

Meanwhile, in the DOH dataset as of August 10, only 18,697 of 68,159 recoveries (or 27.43%) indicate a date of actual recovery and are tagged as "Recovered." The DOH attributed the missing dates of actual recovery to "the incomplete and inaccurate contact information placed in the Case Investigation Forms." (READ: How complete is DOH's coronavirus dataset?)

Compared to ASEAN

Among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines has the highest number of total and active cases, and the 2nd lowest case recovery rate thus far, next to Vietnam.

In terms of case fatality rate, the country currently ranks 4th, next to Indonesia, Brunei, and Thailand.

The Philippines currently ranks second to Vietnam in terms of percentage of active cases, and second to Singapore in terms of the number of cases per 1 million population.

Data in the table below is as of August 11, 12:44 am.

– Rappler.com

Michael Bueza

Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.

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