The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines increased to 19,748 after the Department of Health (DoH) reported 751 more infections on Wednesday (June 3).
The DoH said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 4,153 after 90 more patients have recovered.
The death toll in the Philippines also increased to 974 after eight more deaths were reported.
According to the DoH, 242 of the daily reported cases were in Metro Manila.
There were 342 cases in the Central Visayas region, and 156 cases were reported in other parts of the country.
The DoH added that 11 overseas Filipino workers repatriated by the government have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In a related matter, the DoH reported that the monthly mortality average fell from 25.3 deaths per day in April to 1.6 deaths at the end of May.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, Infectious Disease director of San Lazaro Hospital, said the decline could be due to the fewer infections that occurred in the elderly population.
“When we have elderly patients — 70, 75 years old — with moderate symptoms, chances are, after two to three days, they will be critical, and even if they are given medication, the risk of death is really high,” he said in a virtual media briefing on Wednesday.
Solante said 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in the country occur among senior citizens.
Fortunately, fewer elderly patients are being hospitalized, added the infectious disease expert.
“From what we are observing, fewer are the elderly population who have contracted the disease, maybe because of social distancing and community quarantine that has limited their movement,” he said.
There are also fewer patients with severe infection admitted in hospitals, “and most of the infections now occur in the 20, 30, 40 age group,” he said.
That age group — without underlying condition — is more likely to survive the respiratory disease, Solante said. “Those who have a higher chance for survival are those patients without comorbidities and those who are less than 50 years old.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during recent virtual briefings that the doubling time for reported cases had slowed down to more than seven days.
The Philippines still ranks second in coronavirus deaths in Southeast Asia, only behind Indonesia with 1,663 deaths, according to John Hopkins University Tracker.