* My column in BusinessWorld, April 28, 2020.
First, the health frontliners in hospitals, clinics, and laboratory centers; and their “support cast” — the people in the groceries and fast food chains, the delivery boys on motorcycles like Grab Food and Delivery, Foodpanda, etc. For the doctors and nurses, patients and their caretakers who have no more time to cook or cannot buy from cheaper carinderias that are also closed, food delivery boys save the day.
Second, the various private citizens and corporate groups that give seemingly endless donations to both poor households and public hospitals. I want to mention our University of the Philippines (UP) School of Economics Alumni Association (UPSEAA). When UPSEAA President Jeffrey Ng called for cash donations from members, deposits quickly and spontaneously came. Among the beneficiaries are: a.) the UP Medical Foundation which received P370,950 worth of PPEs (personal protective equipment) for health workers; b.) the UP Philippine General Hospital which received 200 suit cover gowns and 110 boxes of examination/clean gloves and 460 pieces level 3 PPEs; and, c.) the UP Infirmary/Health Service, P37,500.
Third, some scientists and health officials abroad who produced more realistic findings and conclusions about the China virus (The virus which causes COVID-19 is officially called SARS-Cov-2. — Ed.), particularly focusing on attaining herd immunity or herd protection — which is when most of the population is immune to an infectious disease, providing indirect protection to those who have weaker immune systems (see Table 1).
I am curious to see if the 501 deaths due to the virus which have been reported in the Philippines as of April 26 is a big number compared to projected natural mortality. The first reported death was on Feb. 1, the second was March 11. If we count from Feb. 1, that is 86 days to April 26 or 5.8 deaths/day; if we count from March 11, that is 46 days or 10.9 deaths/day.
I got mortality statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The latest data is from January-September 2019 with 447,735 deaths over nine months, or an average of 49,748 per month. Extrapolating to 12 months, the estimated number of deaths last year was 596,976.
We need to estimate or project the monthly and daily mortality for 2020. One way to do this is to get the average annual increase of the last four years, 2016 to 2019, which is 9,094. Then use this to project the 2020 numbers (see Table 2).
The projected mortality of 1,684 per day in 2020 is just from regular causes like dengue, cancer, hypertension, accidents, etc. Someday it should be established that six or 11 deaths/day are due to the China virus, all or portion of it is on top of the projected 1,684. With virus comorbidity, these may be deaths from cancer, hypertension, etc. but are counted as ostensible deaths due to the virus. Which were used by the national and local governments to justify all the hysteria, business shutdowns, community dictatorship, huge public spending and the coming high taxes.
We still wait for new medicines and vaccines against this virus. Meanwhile, herd immunity should not be hampered via endless lockdowns. The extension of quarantine for all until May 15 is wrong, a partial quarantine for the elderly and those with existing serious diseases should have been the policy. The continuing hysterical lockdown is a “cure” that is worse than the problem it intends to solve