AN infectious disease expert said a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas with low vaccination rate can be expected due to the new BA.2.12.1 Omicron sub-variant that is already in the country.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, Dr. Rontgene Solante said it is possible to see an increase in cases in areas with low vaccination rates.
He said they are still observing the movement of COVID-19 cases, especially in the NCR since there is more mobility here so expect to see an increase in cases due to the new subvariant.
It is possible to see the increase in cases this month up to June, not just because of the big events that happened during the campaign period and the election but also because of the presence of the new subvariant.
Solante admitted, however, that the true number of cases cannot be seen if the level of testing is low.
It should be noted, Solante said, that the BA.2.12.1 is easily transmissible compared to the original variant so it is possible that COVID-19 cases may rise to more than 500 daily.
Despite this, Solante explained that he does not see the increase in the number of cases to affect the country’s hospital utilization rate.
Based on studies, he said the new subvariant’s symptoms are mild, especially on the fully vaccinated and with booster dose already.
What worries him, however, is if the vulnerable population like the senior citizens will be hit with the new subvariants, especially those who remain unvaccinated or those with no booster dose yet so it is possible that it may lead to severe case or hospitalization.