MANILA – Increased immunity has kept the country’s healthcare utilization rates low and deaths due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) manageable, a health official said Wednesday.
During a media forum in Pasay City, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the increased immunity of the Filipino population is a combination of natural immunity and immunity from Covid-19 vaccines.
“Alam natin nung nag-uumpisa ang Omicron variant dito sa ating bansa maraming nagkasakit, maraming nagkaroon nitong natural immunity, although experts would see hindi ito magiging pare-pareho sa bawat tao, hindi ito sinasabi na magla-last rin ito ng ganun katagal, pero (Many were infected when Omicron variant entered the country, many acquired this natural immunity, although experts would see that its different among individuals and this won’t last that long, but) experts and evidences are now showing that the combination of natural immunity and immunity coming from vaccines is now protecting the world,” she said.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization expressed concern over the growing number of Covid-19 deaths globally. There are over 669 million cases and 6.74 million deaths due to Covid-19 recorded worldwide.
While the DOH sees every death due to the disease as a concern, Vergeire said the DOH is “quite confident” that itcould respond well in terms of healthcare utilization to any future threats of Covid-19.
She noted that hospitals are more ready and have better capacity to respond compared to two years ago when the pandemic started.
“Of course, this does not mean that we become complacent, kelangan tuloy-tuloy pa rin 'yung ating vigilance, saka lagi tayong cautious, para hindi tayo babalik dun sa dati nating estado kung saan tumataas ang mga kaso tumataas ang mga naa-admit (we need to continue with our vigilance, we need to be always cautious, so we don’t return to previous state when cases and admissions were high),” she said.
The country has logged over 4.07 million coronavirus cases and more than 65,716 fatalities so far.
Its daily average of new Covid-19 cases is currently at 270, which is 35 percent lower than last week’s 417.
When the highly infectious Omicron variant entered the country, the DOH logged the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections at 26,458 on Jan. 8.
The figure is higher than the cases logged during the peak of the deadly Delta variant which reached 26,303 on Sept. 11.
As of Jan. 23, about 73,820,001 or 94.52 percent of the country’s target population (78,100,578) are vaccinated against Covid-19 and 21,293,632 individuals have received their booster shots.
Only 16.1 percent or 370 out of the 2,299 intensive care unit (ICU) beds are in use, while 19.1 percent or 3,509 of 18,410 non-ICU beds are utilized. (PNA)