Local and international health experts have cautioned that if the virus is not controlled in the Philippines, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could infect as many as 75,000 people in the next three months.
Speaking at a state-run PTV’s “general” press conference on Wednesday, Health Under-Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number was calculated by Health Department and World Health Organization experts, including Philippine epidemiologists.
However, Vergeire said the prediction can still be “flattened” by effective measures, such as the strict social distancing method.
The health official said at some stage that the virus can reach a reproductive rate whereby a person carrying the COVID-19 virus can infect two individuals in a single interaction.
As of today, the Philippines has 193 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 14 deaths and 7 recoveries.
Globally, over 180,000 people in 159 countries and territories have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The International Committee on Virus Taxonomy named the virus which causes COVID-19 as SARS-CoV-2. In Wuhan, China, it is assumed that he first moved from an animal host to humans.
The virus, now considered by WHO as a pandemic, causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but experts said that older adults with preexisting health conditions were more vulnerable to the coronavirus, particularly those aged over 60-years-old.
To order to prevent infection, officials advise people to frequently wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with someone with respiratory symptoms.
President Duterte has put all of the Philippines under a state of calamity due to the virus for six months. He has also placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in a bid to prevent the further spread of the contagion.