DOH to Robredo: COVID-19 reports not intended to deceive public

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — There is no intent to deceive the public or sugarcoat the truth about the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Department of Health said Tuesday in response to a criticism from Vice President Leni Robredo.

Wala pong intensyon ang departamento na linlangin ang mga tao sapagkat nilalabas naman po namin ang mga mahahalagang datos na maaaring gamitin para sa analysis,” Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing.

[Translation: The department has no intention to deceive the public because we release all the important data that can be used for the analysis.]

She was asked for comment on Robredo’s Facebook post that there was an “attempt to mislead” the public, after the DOH released data showing that the positivity rate, or the percentage of people testing positive of the virus, has decreased to 8 percent on July 23, from 22.2 percent on April 30.

“Of course, you will expectedly get a very high percentage when your base is very low,” Robredo said.

“Look at the April 30 data when tests where just at 4k+, positivity rate was 8.5%. Compare that to the July 23 and 25 data, when more than 29k tests were already conducted. Positivity rate was even higher at 12.1%. Nakakabahala ito. Kasi ang laki na ng base mo compared to the one in April, pero mas mataas pa tuloy positivity rate (This is disturbing because the base is higher compared to the one in April but the positivity rate is even higher),” she added.

In the same post, Robredo asked DOH not to sugarcoat the data.

Vergeire said the department just showed the positivity rate to show the improving testing capacity in the county.

Kaya po bumababa ang mga numerong ito ay dahil nga nagkakaroon na ng mga laboratoryo sa bansa na maaaring magsagawa ng test, isang senyales na tayo rumiresponde sa pandemya bilang isang nasyon. Wala pong panloloko dito,” Vergeire said.

[Translation: The reason why the numbers are decreasing is because there are more laboratories to conduct testing, a sign that we are responding to the pandemic as a nation. There's no deception here.]

She added that the DOH releases information so it can be compared to global parameters, like the goal to reach a positive rate of less than 5 percent. This is among the World Health Organization's bases for saying that a country is able to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Kung makikita niyo po, mas mataas pa rin tayo sa <5% na standard ng WHO, kaya naman ay importante na tayong lahat ay makisama at sumunod sa minimum health standards. Mamalagi na lamang sa bahay kung hindi kinakailangang lumabas," Vergeire added.

[Translation: As you can see, we are still at a higher rate than the <5% standard of WHO, so it's important that we all cooperate and follow minimum health standards. Stay at home if going out is not a necessity.]