The decision by the Department of Health (DOH) to categorize coronavirus patients with no or mild symptoms as “recovered” is mere cherry picking and window dressing, a community medicine expert said.
University of the Philippines College of Medicine professor Gene Nisperos said the decision is problematic as it was applied to many cases a World Health Organization (WHO) guideline meant only for individual patients.
“The WHO guidelines were only meant for individual cases. What the DOH did was to apply it en masse,” the medical doctor explained.
“These recommendations are for individual patients who are assessed and cleared by physicians. Simply extrapolating this to massive data is problematic,” he said.
In its July 30 update on coronavirus cases in the Philippines, the DOH reported 38,075 recoveries in a day.
Citing new protocols in the US and Europe, the DOH said Thursday it is now tagging patients with mild or no symptoms as “recovered” 14 days from the onset of symptoms or by the date of specimen collection.
With nearly 40 thousand new “recoveries”, the DOH said the Philippines now has 65,064 patients who have recovered from the virus on the day it reported a record number of new cases at 3,954, bringing the country’s total to 89,374.
Nisperos however said even if the new protocol is a new DOH data management style, it remains inconsistent as it leaves out from the list of active cases the number of validation backlog that currently stands at 37 thousand.
The DOH said there are 22,327 active COVID-19 cases in the country.
The medical doctor said the DOH is merely cherry picking and window dressing the data.
“The data is being presented to fit a narrative instead of the narrative being based on the data,” he added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)