BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Positive, negative, recovered, active.
ECQ, GCQ, MGCQ.
These words, coupled with numbers have pretty much become part of anyone’s vocabulary since the first quarantine level was raised over the Philippines because of the COVID pandemic.
Like a thermometer, the numbers have eventually become tied up to the public’s anxiety and worries.
Recently, the health department has recorded at least 434,000 confirmed cases in the country with close to 400,000 classified as recovered.
Elsewhere, like here, the COVID numbers have become as anticipated as the daily results of the lotto draw or the illegal daily double.
The numbers are the bases for the quarantine levels. High positives mean high restrictions and low numbers mean low restrictions.
Should we break out the champagne bottle now?
One of the country’s top mathematicians thinks the numbers are two sides of the same coin and while these tell a good story, there are still challenges.
Philip Zuñiga, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines’ Computer Security Group under the Department of Computer Science told DNX the figures show that the country in general is in a better position
“It tells that we are flattening the curve,” the mathematician said as he pointed out that these also show the Philippines is “in a better position than when we were last August” when cases peaked.
Zuñiga, however, cautioned that “(t)he numbers can only tell us that much” as he added that there are still factors to consider in looking at the numbers.
“There is still a challenge in proper data collection, proper data cleansing and data updating. We might be seeing good numbers pero we are not sure how updated these numbers are.”