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Wake up call to DOH

As of last week’s count, the Department of Health (DOH) reported there have been more than 150,000 cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) recorded nationwide. The DOH seems unfazed though and even credited its highly improved surveillance system for having detected this surge of flu-like cases. The DOH sought to assuage the public that the rising ILI incidence is not related to any resurgence of the deadly COVID-19 infection, especially new strains of this highly transmissible virus.

The DOH Epidemiology Bureau disclosed a total of 151,375 ILI cases were reported hospital admissions as of October 13. This is 45 percent higher compared to the 104,613 ILI cases reported during the same period last year, the DOH noted.

“It could be attributed to the efforts in strengthening the surveillance for other diseases as we shift our focus from COVID-19,” the DOH cited.

The DOH rationalized the rise in flu cases at this time of the year as something seasonally expected at the start of the “ber” months. “The increase in ILI coincides with the onset of rainy and colder months,” the DOH pointed out.

ILI is defined as a medical diagnosis of possible influenza or other illness causing a set of common symptoms, which include fever, shivering, chills, dry cough, loss of appetite, body aches, sneezing and nausea, with the onset of this upper respiratory infection.

On the other hand, the first detected Wuhan strain of highly transmissible COVID-19 virus causes colds, flu and could worsen into pneumonia. From March 2020 since the Wuhan outbreak, variants of COVID-19 emerged and many causing more deadly strains up to present.

From that time on until Oct. 26 this year, the DOH official tally recorded that a total of 66,735 people died in the Philippines due to COVID-19 infection. From the latest COVID-19 Bulletin of DOH, the daily average number of new COVID-19 infection cases is 164.

The country has recorded over 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the past week. Sadly, various hospitals reported a total of nine deaths while 22 patients were in severe and critical condition from October 9 to 22.

Thankfully, more than 78 million individuals in our country, or 100.44 percent of the