According to a list produced by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center, the United States still has the most number of cases globally at 7.2 million, with India in second with 6.3 million COVID-19 cases. And while the Philippines is still relatively far from the millions compared to these two nations, we have already entered the top 20 countries with most cases around the world.
With the current number at 314, 079 (2,415 new cases on October 1), the Philippines has already overtaken Pakistan which has over 312,000 cases. We are just below Italy which has 314, 861 cases. (Read: Malaysia Imposes Travel Ban on PH Due to Rising COVID-19 Cases)
And of the 2,415 new cases reported yesterday, 83% (2,010 individuals) contracted the disease in the past two weeks. This is why many experts are reminding everyone that it is still not safe to go out in public, given that thousands of new cases are still logged daily—and the healthcare industry has been in a constant struggle in battling the pandemic.
Lack of Facilities
As the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response, said hospitals need at least 40,000 more beds for their patients.
“Kailangan po magkaroon tayo ng karagdagang hospital beds at saka po ‘yung quarantine, isolation facilities. Sa ano po namin, kailangan po natin lahat-lahat, tinataya po, kailangan po natin ng 42,000 beds para sa lahat po,” Galvez said in the Laging Handa press briefing.
Secretary Galvez added that there are only around 7,000 available hospital beds in the National Capital Region (NCR), which is not enough given that Metro Manila still mostly logs the highest number of new cases each day. (Read: What Are the Pros and Cons of Home Quarantine?)
Shortage of Healthcare Workers
Aside from the lack of hospital beds, the government admitted that hospitals are short on healthcare workers. (Read: DOH Seeks Additional 3,000 Healthcare Workers in Fight Against COVID-19) Testing czar Vince Dizon says that it has proved to be a problem because hospitals need different personnel to perform various jobs from testing individuals to analyzing the samples to treating patients. “It’s a big challenge, talagang inaamin natin yan at kailangang kailangan natin ang dagdag na healthcare workers,” he said in an interview.
Healthcare workers are exhausted to the point that they already asked the government for a “time out” back in August after combatting COVID-19 for the past few months. Going out in public for non-essential errands, and possibly contracting the disease, would just make the healthcare workers’ jobs more difficult when they have already spent all of their energy treating patients and getting them back into good shape.