(PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The OCTA Research is seeing a downtrend in the surge in coronavirus infections due to the Omicron variant in Metro Manila, as it expects daily cases in the region to slow down to less than 1,000 infections by Valentine’s Day.

During the Go Negosyo’s Booster to the Max Townhall Friday, OCTA Research fellow, Dr. Guido David, said there is already a downward trajectory of cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) as average cases declined by 20 percent week-on-week.

He added that the reproduction number in NCR started to decline since January 3 when the government reverted Metro Manila to Alert Level 3.

David said NCR will have more than 2,000 daily cases by end of January from a peak of 8,000 cases a day.

“By Valentine’s Day, it could be at least 1,000 cases and by the end February it would be around less than 500 cases,” he added.

Although conditions in Metro Manila are improving, David said easing the alert level system “might not be advisable until NCR reaches moderate risk” in order to sustain the rapid decrease in cases that the OCTA Research has been observing.

While cases in NCR are slowing down, Covid-19 infections outside Metro Manila have not yet peaked.

David said there is still an upward trajectory of cases in areas outside NCR mainly driven by the Omicron variant.

For instance, cases in Cebu City are increasing but have not reached its peak of less than 1,000 cases which is expected by the end of the month, he said.

He added that the estimated peak daily cases in Cebu City would be three times higher than peak during the Delta surge.

“But this would be a faster wave again compared to the Delta. So our friends from Cebu will just have to brace for this and then wait for the wave to pass by,” David said.

Meanwhile, providing an outlook after the Omicron surge, OCTA Research Fellow and professor at the University of Santo Tomas Fr. Nicanor Austriaco said Covid-19 will continue to evolve, but a strain “scarier” than the Omicron would be “incredibly difficult to appear”.

Austriaco, citing studies of molecular biologists, said the structure of the Omicron variant is making it “very difficult” for Covid-19 to evolve into a more severe strain that can escape the immune system better than Omicron. (PNA)