Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon is alarmed by the increasing number of Filipinos who are testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, as well as the increasing rate of infection in the country, which is now reaching 12 to 13 percent in the past two weeks from below 10% early on in the outbreak.
“The spread of the virus in the country is worsening, from about 10% early on in the outbreak, the positivity rate or infection rate is now reaching 12% to 13% in the past two weeks,” Drilon said during an interview with radio station DwIZ on Saturday.
“I’ve heard that they are attributing the surge in the number of cases to the increased testing capacity. Ang hindi nila binabanggit ay ang pagtaas ng positivity rate. If we look at the data in March and April, the infection rate then was between 9-10%, now it is anywhere between 12-13% and is still increasing,” he underscored.
At the onset of the pandemic, Drilon said the infection rate was only at 9-10 percent. From every 100 individuals tested for the virus, 10 would turn out positive for the virus, he noted.
However in the past two weeks, Drilon expressed grave concerns that the rate of infection among those tested is increasing to about 12% to 13%.
He cited, for instance, the turnout of cases last August 6. Out of 19,666 individuals tested, Drilon said 2,400 were confirmed positive or about 12.2% infection rate.
The rate was much worse last August 1 when the country recorded a 13.9% positivity rate after 3,641 individuals tested positive out of 26,149 tests conducted, he noted.
Cumulative records would also reveal an increase in the rate of infection, which would dismiss the reasoning of government officials that the surge in the number of cases, outranking Indonesia, is brought about by increased testing capacity, according to Drilon.
“Our effort to prevent the spread of the virus is totally failing, because the virus continues to multiply. That is what we must arrest. We must take advantage of the lockdown to increase our contact tracing efforts,” Drilon said.
“For all that we are doing, having the strictest and longest lockdown that put the country at a standstill, we still failed to prevent the spread of the virus,” Drilon said.
“This is not a contest; this is not a race between nations. It is a race between the virus and our health system,” Drilon said.
“Are we winning the war? Are we on the road to stop the spread of the virus?”, he added.
If we are not able to contain the spread through efficient testing, tracing and treating (the 3 Ts), then we would implement lockdown here and everywhere that would further damage our economy and leave millions in joblessness and poverty, Drilon said.
“Huwag nating pagtuunan ng pansin kung mas mataas tayo o mas mataas ang Indonesia. Ang pansinin natin ay kung ano ang ating magagawa. Ang infection rate, iyan po ang ating kalaban. Hindi yung mga prediction ng UP ang gagawin nating basehan kaya nanalo tayo. That’s neither here nor there,” he said.
The Senate’s chief fiscalizer said he would push for more funding in the Bayanihan 2 in order to cover more beneficiaries of the social amelioration program.
“The P140 billion stimulus fund is not enough. Mas marami tayong pangangailangan dahil hindi nga nako-control ang pagkalat ng virus. Kapag nag-lockdown tayo patay ang ekonomiya natin. We need to expand the social amelioration program to give temporary relief to our countrymen who are badly hit by the pandemic,” Drilon said.