By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Philippines on Friday reported 21,819 new Covid-19 infections, the highest single-day result since September 2021, the Department of Health (DOH).
The Philippines has had a total of 2.91 million officially reported Covid-19 cases with 51,871 deaths.
In its latest case bulletin, the DOH said it recorded a 40 percent positivity rate from the 70,049 tests run.
The health agency noted that 21,656 or 99 percent of the new cases reported on Friday occurred within the past two weeks.
Earlier this week, DOH reported that 29 new cases of the omicron variant of concern were detected from the 48 samples sequenced last Jan. 2.
Besides these 29 omicron cases, there were 18 positive for the delta variant while one had no lineage assigned. The latest sequencing run was composed of samples from 19 returning overseas Filipinos and 29 local cases from areas with case clusters.
Health officials reminded citizens that the vaccine is still the best defense against Covid-19, downplaying an OCTA Research member’s claim that the omicron variant could act as a natural vaccine.
OCTA Research fellow, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, said the omicron variant can act as a natural vaccine as it struggles to infect the lungs that even with 70 times more virus, “the symptoms will likely appear milder.”
Austriaco noted that individuals who survive the Omicron variant will get antibodies that could provide protection against it and such other variants as Delta, Gamma, Beta, Alpha and D614G.
But DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said mild symptoms are still manifestations of the infection and are still a way of transmission.
She advised the public against being complacent even if the variant only manifests mild symptoms.
“The World Health Organization pronounced that the Omicron variant is still a virus and not a natural vaccine,” the Philippine News Agency quoted Vergeire as saying. “The DOH states that the more transmission, the more the virus can mutate and replicate. While we recognize natural immunity, the DOH emphasizes the importance of vaccine-induced immunity.”