Guide for Reporters: Reporting the DOH Data based on the DOH-admitted backlog of 5-7 days: Each figure reported daily is actually 7 days old, e.g., the number of 1,418 infected dated March 29 should be reported as: “due to backlog, this number is based on tests of April 22, 2020”

Posted at 11:31am

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Guide for Reporters: Reporting the DOH Data based on the DOH-admitted backlog of 5-7 days: Each figure reported daily is actually 7 days old, e.g., the number of 1,418 infected dated March 29 should be reported as: “due to backlog, this number is based on tests of April 22, 2020”
          DOH Secretary Duque revealed in an interview by DZBB’s Igan and Ali Sotto an hour ago that the DOH figures on number of confirmed cases of people infected being released everyday has a backlog of 5 to 7 days due to the length of time that the test results could be finalized because of the surge in the number of tests conducted.

         This means that while the entire test and processing itself takes 24- 48 hours, the long line of samples makes the releasing of test results delayed by about 5 to 7 days. See explanation at:
https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/27/20/doh-says-covid-19-testing-now-takes-5-to-7-days-ritm-to-address-backlog-soon

       In other words, the figures on number of cases of people infected are from tests conducted 5 to 7 days ago.

       In other words, they’re not real-time.

       Because of the absence of real-time data, extrapolations are being made by the best mathematicians in this country based on international epidemiological modelling standards.

         The simplest extrapolation is based on the rate of increase, e.g., our numbers are doubling every three days.

       Based on this simplest extrapolation, media practitioners out there — journalists, reporters, news anchors, editors and directors included – can do the math, right? Because you have a bigger platform, let’s help in disseminating the explainer.

     Why is this important?

      Because it is upon the big data that the decision on whether to lift the quarantine would depend.

      Wrong data means wrong decision, many will die.

      (Some of you will say that the extrapolation is very speculative but there is no other data available, and according to the mathematicians, it is based on internationally accepted epidemiological modelling standards.).

        So, here it is:

       If it’s doubling every three days …

       and the present data is from seven days ago…

        the modelling study made by some mathematicians …

          as laymanized by blog admin…

      is as follows (this is my laymanization, any mistake is mine alone)

March 22: 1,418 Number of people infected based on 5-7 days backlog

March 25: 2,836 Number of people infected based on modelling study of 100% increase every 3 days

March 28: 5,672 Number of people infected based on modelling study of 100% increase every 3 days

Today, March 30: 9,452 Number of people infected based on modelling study of 100% increase every 3 days

March 31: 11,344 Number of people infected based on modelling study of 100% increase every 3 days

      In other words, with the backlog of 5 to 7 days and based on the rate of increase at 100% every three days, the figure that comes closer to reality on the number of people infected as of today March 30 is closer to 9,452 than 1,418, because 1,418 is seven days old and the number is doubling every three days.

     In other words, as of today, unbeknownst to us and unbeknownst to the people infected themselves, there are most likely 8,034 people walking around infected but not tested and therefore undiagnosed.

      We’d like to find them so they can be treated and be given a comfortable room so they would not infect more people. That’s how to race with the virus.

      This shows the logic behind improving the capacity to test in order to accomplish massive and focused testing or, as many netizens hashtag it, #MassTestingNowPH (mass testing is not testing en masse but massive testing).

      The DOH Secretary has promised to release the real-time figures in a few days.

       As for presenting a contextualized discussion of the DOH figures, news editors and directors are faced with the question: Do we want people to know, or not know?

          That problem is not a mathematical question.

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