Since its initial onset in late 2019, COVID-19 has done many changes to the way we live; be it working, lifestyle tweaks, health choices, shopping, or socializing.
And why wouldn’t it?
The Department of Health (DOH) record of almost 24,0001 in active cases just this month is enough to paint us a story.
PH IN NUMBERS
According to data provided by DOH’s COVID-19 tracker2, the Philippines has had a total of 3,989,556 cases as of this writing.
We have a total of 23,721 active cases, 63,669 of deaths, and 3,901,166 of recoveries. For the 64.3% (2,563,646) of unreported cases, the DOH site claims “date of specimen collection was used as proxy.”
Data from the World Health Organization4, on the other hand, ranks the Philippines fourth in terms of the cumulative number of cases in Southeast Asian countries.
India ranks 1st with 44,634,376, Indonesia comes second with 6,462,655, and Thailand has 4,687,281 cases.
For vaccination rates, we rank 8th on total vaccine doses administered per 100 population, with Bhutan on top (260.51), Nepal second (202.54), Thailand third (204.35), Bangladesh fourth (192.89), Sri Lanka fifth (186.84), Maldives sixth (175.97), and Indonesia seventh (160.57).
A NEW SUBVARIANT AND VARIANT
COVID-19 Omicron XBB subvariant and XBC variant have been detected in the Philippines, as announced by the DOH on October 18. 3
According to DOH Officer-in-Charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire, there were 81 Omicron XBB subvariant cases in two regions and 193 XBC variant cases were from 11 regions namely: Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Caraga, and the National Capital Region.
The XBB variant regions were not disclosed.
Omicron XBB subvariant has reportedly been causing the rise of cases in Singapore, while the XBC variant is a recombinant of Delta and BA.2. So far, there are no plans to tighten restrictions as the new variants are included in the life cycle of a virus, said the DOH OIC.
As of the third week of October, the country has administered 166.73 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.4
WHEN ARE WE UP TO DATE WITH VACCINES?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)5 stated that you are updated with COVID-19 vaccinations if you have completed the primary round and additional suggested doses, which are based on age, the vaccine you first received, and the time since you were last inoculated.
In addition, these factors hinge on other health concerns like having a moderately or severely immunocompromised immune system, and more.
The CDC confirms that if you have had your recommended doses as mentioned, you do not need to be immediately revaccinated or boosted.
BOOSTERS, MASK MANDATES, AND TIPS
While you’re considered fully vaccinated after your two rounds (one for Johnson&Johnson), a booster shot remains an added layer of protection for COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
This is supported by a Harvard study6 that found out that an additional dose “creates antibodies that bind more tightly to the spike protein, increasing their effectiveness.”
This and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. issuing Executive Order No. 37 which allows “voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with adequate ventilation with a goal of further boosting the economy” allows for higher risk of infection — how can we better safeguard our health?
- CONTINUE TO WEAR MASKS AND OTHER PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT ANYWAY Wearing face masks and other protective gear might seem inconvenient especially since they are not officially mandated anymore, but it is a little price to pay to keep safe. Having a spare mask to change from time to time when you’re outdoors helps, too.
- SUPERCHARGE YOUR DIET We might have heard this a million times, but it is a constant reminder for a reason. Having a balanced diet with much needed fruit, vegetables, and meat intake supports the body’s functions and immune system. Plus, we can always have fun with our meals, particularly when we are getting children to ingest healthy food.
- GET INTO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE A healthier lifestyle does not just mean giving up vices or bad habits, it is also about consistency and intentionality in doing the right things. Sure, it can be quite a challenge, but your body (and your future self) will thank you for it.
- REDUCE THE RISK WITH PERSONAL HYGIENE Handwashing, bringing alcohol in your trusty bag when outside, and showering after going home are still crucial when it comes to curbing the risks of COVID-19 and protecting ourselves against tougher mutations and variants. It is best to do the basics and continuously do what works from the beginning.
- BE UP TO DATE WITH CHECK-UPS If you have not had a trip to the doctor’s office in a while, start by scheduling a general checkup even when you feel just a little off. Getting a consultation and assessment from a physician might do your wellbeing wonders.
Have EASTWEST HEALTHCARE connect you to a nationwide network of providers that addresses the diverse health needs of our clientele. Have the Freedom to Choose when it comes to your medical care and securing a healthy horizon for you and your family.
- RICHA NORIEGA, G. M. A. N. (2022, October 20). Philippines’ 2,227 new COVID-19 cases push active tally to 23,721. GMA News Online. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/848742/philippines-2-227-new-covid-19-cases-push-active-tally-to-23-721/story/
- Department of Health Website. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://doh.gov.ph/2019-ncov/
- Staff, C. N. N. P. (n.d.). Ph logs first omicron XBB subvariant, XBC variant cases. cnn. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/10/18/PH-first-XBB-XBC-cases-.html
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). Philippines: Who coronavirus disease (covid-19) dashboard with vaccination data. World Health Organization. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/ph
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Stay up to date with covid-19 vaccines including boosters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
- (2022, January 7). No Omicron immunity without booster, study finds. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2022/01/no-omicron-immunity-without-booster-study-finds/
- PBBM scraps mandatory use of face mask outdoors. Office of the Press Secretary. (2022, September 12). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://ops.gov.ph/news_releases/pbbm-scraps-mandatory-use-of-face-mask-outdoors/#:~:text=President%20Ferdinand%20%E2%80%9CBongbong%E2%80%9D%20Marcos%20Jr,Executive%20Order%20No.