Robredo cites data showing countries beating COVID-19 while awaiting vaccine

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Vice President Leni Robredo cited on Tuesday data disputing the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic could not be won without a vaccine.

Robredo cited a table published by The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, launched last July by The Lancet medical journal to help governments, United Nations institutions, and civil groups fight the pandemic.

The table, based on data collected last August, ranked countries based on their effective reproductive rate — that is, the rate of coronavirus transmission.

The Philippines was ranked 66th out of 91 countries.

Robredo posted on Facebook this comment, written partly in Filipino, on a table included in the study: “This table shows that it’s possible to suppress [the coronavirus] even while no vaccine is available. If 19 countries were able to do it, no reason why we can’t. We can do this.”

“This study was done using August data. Our September numbers are getting better compared to our August numbers,” she added. “But, perhaps, it would even be better if we set weekly or monthly targets. In that way, our assessment would depend on how near we are to our targets and we make sure that all our efforts are focused on achieving those targets.”

This table is an assessment of how 91 countries are performing as far as suppression of the Covid 19 virus is concerned….

由 Leni Gerona Robredo 發佈於 2020年9月22日 星期二

The study, released last Sept. 14, took into consideration the number of tests during the month in comparison to the positive cases and deaths recorded. It also noted the effective reproduction rate, which indicates whether transmissions are falling or rising.

There are 19 countries in the “suppression” area, including COVID-19 response models Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Korea, and Cuba. This means that these countries and others have managed to suppress the coronavirus.

The Philippines is in the middle of the spectrum — the “moderate” area, meaning that it has more than 10, but less than 50 cases per million per day.

The table that Robredo cited in her Facebook post is part of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the Occasion of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.

LINK: The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement

Robredo’s comments were another answer to Duterte’s sarcastic remark on Monday night, when he invited Robredo to spray pesticide all over the country to kill the virus. Duterte made the statement to stress that the best could do to prevent infection would be to keep wearing masks while waiting for a vaccine to become available.

Shortly after Duterte’s recorded broadcast, Robredo quickly noted that spraying pesticide would not help fight the pandemic. Instead, she gave four pointers that were among the measures she had been suggesting to the government.

The word war between the two leaders has also spilled over to their spokespersons, with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque urging Robredo to share any solution she might have.

Roque’s counterpart, lawyer Barry Gutierrez, clapped back by urging administration officials to read Robredo’s recommendations so that they would not look stupid.

These exchanges between the administration and the opposition are the latest during the pandemic.

Critics have been accusing the government of prioritizing other things — like the Anti-Terrorism Act, the ABS CBN shutdown, forging closer ties with China, and Manila Bay rehabilitation — over more pressing issues like COVID-19 mass testing, contact tracing, and securing jobs for unemployed Filipinos.

Recently, Robredo also mentioned that the government seemed to have no leader, that it did not appear to be in control of the situation.