(UPDATED) Self-proclaimed politicaloperator and strategist Franco Mabanta, a supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., wrongly said that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the first pandemic “in a century.”
His other claim that the 17,727 reported COVID-19 recoveries in the country on Nov. 1 was “record-shattering” needs context.
“22 hours ago, the Philippines was smashed by one of the strongest recorded typhoons in history, compounded by the economic and social stress of the first global (sic) pandemic (COVID-19) in a century.”
“Yet here we are facing a national record-shattering total of 17,727 new Covid recoveries reported on Sunday ALONE. (We usually take in about 400 to 600 recoveries a day.)”
The most recent is the COVID-19, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared as a pandemic in March.
WHO defines pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease.”
Second, Mabanta’s claim that 17,727 new COVID-19 recoveries reported on Nov. 1 alone was “national record-shattering” lacks context.
The big number of recoveries reported on Nov. 1, a Sunday, was derived from the week-long data reconciliation process used by the Department of Health (DOH) under Oplan Recovery. The reconciled data under Oplan Recovery, released every Sunday since July, resulted in a bulk of new recoveries.
The highest number of recoveries ever reported by DOH was 40,397 on Aug. 16, which consisted of 39,843 time-based recoveries. But a review of DOH’s COVID-19 Tracker showed that those over 40,000 recoveries on Aug. 16 have been reduced to 4,184, as of Nov. 16, due to correction of data owing to delayed reporting or incomplete data submission.
According to data provided by DOH as of Nov. 10, at least 417 out of 34,315 cases were confirmed to have recovered on Aug. 16. The remaining 33,898 entries, with unspecified dates of recovery but announced on Aug. 16, were added to the date.
Meanwhile, another 703 entries composed of 236 validated as deaths, 120 reclassified as active (critical) cases, and 347 dropped as duplicate or deactivated have so far been removed from the recovery data for Aug. 16.
In a reply to VERA Files on Nov. 14, DOH explained that “...changes in outcome may be caused by the delay in updating of case status or incomplete data submission in our information systems.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said Oplan Recovery is an initiative that involves “collection, validation and reconciliation” of data of COVID-19 patients between DOH and local government units. It was “activated to monitor the statuses of confirmed COVID-19 cases, particularly deaths and recoveries to ensure that our data is updated and accurate,” according to DOH.
The weeklong process followed by DOH in reconciling data of COVID-19 time-based recoveries under Oplan Recovery. Photo courtesy: Department of Health
Under Oplan Recovery, the DOH uses time-based and symptom-based strategy as basis for releasing mild and asymptomatic patients who have completed 14 days of quarantine without showing any symptoms and having confirmatory testing to check if they still have viable coronaviruses in their body. Those patients are tagged as “time-based recoveries” in DOH’s COVIDKaya platform after the validation of data.
As of Nov. 16, 374,366 persons in the country have recovered from COVID-19, out of 409,574 infected. The number of deaths reached 7,839.
The Philippines’ recovery rate, or the proportion of the cumulative COVID-19 confirmed cases against those who recovered, is currently at 91.40%, while the case fatality rate is at 1.90% as of Nov. 16. The latest reproduction number of COVID-19 is 0.93, as of Oct. 30, meaning, a positive individual could infect an average of 0.96 persons.
Franco Mabanta official Facebook account, As of today.., April 8, 2019
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)