A text message that warns of an alleged new wave of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is being shared on Facebook (FB) and private messaging platforms. This is not true.
Attributed to Dr. Ruth Divinagracia of St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC), the message further claimed that the surge led to the hospital’s intensive care units (ICUs) for COVID-19 to reach full capacity. The message circulated during the holiday season.
The text read:
“FOR YOUR INFO – NEW COVID WAVE IN METRO MANILA –
Dr. Ruth Divinagracia
Pulmonary & Critical Care Doctor
St. Luke Medical Center
Covid ICU in SLMC is now full. Most of the cases are covid-induced bad commorbidities (sic). Big number of patients have been vaccinated but not boosted. We are anticipating the number to go up after the holidays. Suggesting to limit socializing, specially occasions where you will have to remove your masks. Still suggesting to use N95 and not KN95 masks. If you have families and friends with underlying commorbidities (sic), please let them know to be very careful and cautious as to the event/occasion that they are attending and mask removal. Thanks.”
This is false. Both the Department of Health (DOH) and SLMC have issued statements calling the message untrue.
“There is no credible evidence or official announcement from health authorities supporting the assertion of a surge in COVID-19 cases at the mentioned hospital,” a part of DOH’s Jan. 4 advisory read.
According to SLMC’s advisory posted on their official FB page, Divinagracia did not release any recent statement on the matter.
SLMC added: “The statements currently circulating are false information that originated two years ago. It is important to note that these statements are not reflective of the current COVID-19 situation.”
Both the DOH and the SLMC urged the public to get updates from official sources and to refrain from spreading unverified information that may cause unnecessary panic.
The message has been circulating online as early as Dec. 22, 2022.
According to the DOH, the COVID-19 transmission was low during the holiday period. The health department logged 3,147 new cases from Dec. 26, 2023 to Jan. 1, 2024, averaging 446 cases daily. This average is 10% lower than the cases recorded from Dec. 19 to 25.