MANILA – The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines continues to rise but death or fatality rate is only 1.8 percent, which is less than the global average.

Out of the top 30 countries with the highest number of cases, our number of deaths of 13,000 is one of the lowest – second lowest in fact, according to Dr. Edsel Salvana in a recent social media post.

“Only Israel has less deaths in this group,” the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group member and infectious disease expert stated on March 31. 

“In terms of deaths per million population, we are 119th. Our deaths per million population is less than one tenth than that of the US, UK, France, Spain and Italy,” Salvana added.

Considering this data, Salvana said Filipino doctors and healthcare staff are “world class – better than world class”.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained there are many indicators used in establishing comparisons among countries with regard to pandemic response.

“What’s important especially in our country, let’s look at the number of deaths. Our case is still below 2 percent. This is below the global average of 2.2 percent case fatality rate, and that’s a big thing for us, though we have this much number of cases but are deaths are being maintained at this low level,” Vergeire said in a mix of Filipino and English during an online media forum on March 31.

Vergeire added not all countries have similar health systems. High income countries have better health systems, mid-level countries have good health systems but with weaknesses, and poor countries have very weak health systems.

Hence, a country’s pandemic response would still depend on its health system and the capacity of its government, she said.

“We’re not saying that we’re excellent in the response we’re doing. There are things we lack but as long as we can keep our deaths low, as long as we can still manage our severe cases in the hospitals, at iyan po ang pinakabatayan natin para masabi natin na kaya natin makaalpas dito sa obstacle o pagtaas ng kaso na mayroon tayo (that would be our basis to say that we can triumph over this obstacle or increase of cases),” Vergeire said.

Call for help

Salvana assured doctors and other healthcare workers would care for them should they come down with Covid-19.

“But it would be much better if we didn't need to do so because you protected yourself and your loved ones,” he said.

“Let's beat this virus together. Mask, face shield, and physical distance works on all the variants. Minimize moving around unless absolutely necessary. Don't eat with people outside your household,” he added.

Salvana also urged those with symptoms and were exposed to people with Covid-19 to inform their local government units and quarantine immediately. (PNA)