Memos from Asia

Philippine COVID Recovery Surge being Questioned

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This pandemic has claimed a lot of lives over the past few months. It has affected a lot of individuals, businesses and countries. It has changed the dynamics of how we live our daily lives.

Everyone just wants this pandemic to end, which is why when we see the growing numbers of affected and the death toll rising, it feeds on the anxiety that everyone is feeling. We cling on our hopes to the number of daily recoveries. This balances out our unease with optimism.

Philippine Sudden Rise in Cases

In the Philippines, however, there have been doubts over the past months on the credibility of the numbers being shared. It has been apparent that in the past months, the number of cases has risen exponentially.

It started below 40,000 in the beginning of July, to now having over 150,000 cases even before the end of the 2-month mark. On the other hand, the recoveries remained the almost flat.

Offsetting the Surge by Single-Day Recoveries

This was offset by a sudden surge of recoveries in two occasions, one on July 30 recording 38,075 recoveries and more recently on August 16 with 40,000 recoveries in one day.

According to the Department of Health, this bulk was due to the delay in recording recovered cases because of the challenges in retrieving data from all over the country. (CNN, Aug 16, 2020) (Rappler, July 30, 2020)

Distrust over the Data

The explanation and timing of these recoveries has increased distrust over the data being presented by the department. Several people felt like the true numbers are being concealed to make it appear as though the country is doing well.

While there are also others who stand by the data and say that those who distrust the data are being influenced by their hate for the government and refusal to take any good news.

It is good that the country is doing well in terms of handling of the infected and decreasing the number of deaths. In this time of the pandemic, it is critical for everyone’s mental health to stay optimistic and not lose hope. But if it were at the expense of not knowing the true state of the country, will it not bring more harm than relief in the long run?

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