What the new high transmission figures are telling us


The Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of COVID-19 in the country on January 30, 2020. It involved a 38-year-old Chinese woman who was confined in the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The second case was confirmed on February 2, that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who died a day earlier, which was also the first confirmed death from the disease outside mainland China.

The first case of someone without travel history abroad was confirmed on March 5, a 62-year-old male who frequented a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan, Metro Manila, raising suspicions that a community transmission of COVID-19 is already underway in the Philippines. The man’s wife was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on March 7, which was also the first case of local transmission in the country.

From then on, or more specifically March 22 to May 10, transmission rates are averaging less than 200 new cases daily except March 31 and April 6 when there were sudden spikes of 538 and 414 new cases respectively. From April 7 to May 21 daily transmission rates have been recorded at an average of 226 new cases. From May 22 to May 27 there was a steady rise in new cases from 163 to 380 until May 28 when there was again an unusual rise in transmission figures at 539 new cases.

Then came the highest recorded new cases of COVID-19 in the country on May 29 at 1,046. The DOH was quick to admit that the sudden spike in infection rate was due to backlogs by some accredited laboratory testing centers. A test made four days ago or more whose results are included in more recent tests are considered backlogs.

From this day on till June 7, 2020 there was an average daily new cases of 630. This new set of consistently high new transmission cases may not yet suggest a second wave of transmission but it is nevertheless alarming for two reasons: first, we are getting farther away from flattening the curve, and second, there were obvious lapses somewhere in the matter of managing and implementing detection, isolation, and quarantine measures.

With the easing up of quarantine measures, more specifically, the shift from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) for the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu and Davao areas and from GCQ to modified GCQ for other regions of the country, the responsibility of containing the spread of the virus is now effectively transferred from the health authorities to the people. In many instances, this has created confusion for some local government units (LGUs) and their constituents. Despite clear policies and guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), some LGUs differ in their interpretations while others deliberately impose additional and more often unnecessary measures.

The easing up of quarantine measures should not be celebrated, as most people would like to think, but it should rather be seen as leveling up of the storm signal. As such, we have to be more vigilant and more responsible in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from contamination. This makes wearing of face masks in crowded and confined areas, maintaining safe physical distance, and keeping ourselves clean all the more necessary.

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UPDATE ON COVID-19 (May 28, 2020)


The world record of confirmed cases is now 5,807,149 with total deaths of 357,807 and 2,510,388 recovered.

The US, the only country that breached the one million mark, remains on top spot with 1,745,911 cases followed by Brazil with 414,661, the new second placer, Russia, Spain, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, India. India grabbed the 10th place from Iran today. Russia, again, has the highest new cases at 8,371. Mexico has the highest death rates at 463.

The current trending of figures also suggests that the US, Russia and Brazil have become the new epicenters of COVID 19.

Countries with notable decrease in transmission rates are China, South Korea, the gulf states in the Arabian peninsula, Australia, New Zealand, Slovakia, and Czechia.

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From 15,409 confirmed cases yesterday, COVID positive patients is recorded today at 15,588 or plus 539 which is up by 159 from 380 new cases yesterday. This has surpassed the highest recorded transmission rate on April 6 when we logged in 414 new COVID cases. This dramatic uptake is due to the fact that infected returning OFWs have been included in the list, according to Usec. Vergere of DOH.

Of this new cases 330 are from NCR, 55 from Region 7, 99 from other regions of the country, and 55 repatriates.

The Philippines is rank 43 worldwide today from same rank yesterday.
Total deaths today is 17 and total number of recovered patients is 92.

In Region 12 COVID cases remained at 26. There are no new cases recorded as of today.

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A Day in the Life of a Frontliner

She is a registered nurse.

She left today at past 4am to report to a Covid Checkpoint where she is assigned. She should be there from 5am to 1pm.

She left her children (a seven-year old girl and a six-month old baby) under the care of her mother until her husband drives back home. Her husband drives her to and from work everyday. When her husband assumes the baby-sitting job, her mother, another frontliner (an Officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government), prepares to report to work in the next town.
More often, her parents, can’t avoid harboring fear or the apprehension that the longer this battle with Covid 19 lasts, the fewer are her chances of missing the bullet. But she is brave and she wants to serve this country. That is what her parents can be so proud of her. Indeed, in times of great need, the human instinct of heroism in most individuals would tend to show more than personal considerations.

At the checkpoint, she confronts every vehicle’s passenger to do a thermometer scan check. That is after the police would allow the vehicle and its passengers to proceed. It is to be noted that at the height of the general lockdown, only those with Quarantine Pass are allowed to proceed to buy basic essential needs such as food and medicine. Other than these items, it would be difficult to access the public market even with the quarantine pass. The idea is to limit the number of people to as few as possible to lower the chance of getting infected or transmitting the disease.

The local government unit where she is assigned does not allow entry for anyone without a quarantine pass, valid ID, face mask and a border pass if coming from another town. And the only valid reason is to buy basic essential needs.

On some instances, the police would ask her to intervene especially when the interviewee does not speak Tagalog or Bisaya. She argues with those Bapa and Babo (Maguindanawon words which mean uncle and auntie) who would insist on their way into the Poblacion for several reasons which more often are not within the valid reasons. She takes it with a heavy heart while those Bapas and Babos are told to make a U-turn.

Those assigned in COVID Checkpoints are lucky enough to be provided with snacks and meals by the LGU. When the snack would include something which is one of the favorites of her 7-year old daughter, she would spare the same as a “bring home” surprise.

Upon reaching home, she would not touch anything or anybody, not even her crying 6-month old baby. She would dispose her clothes and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a safe area and take a warm shower. She then puts on hand sanitizers after changing clothes to meet her children, talk to the 7-year old daughter and cuddle her 6-month old baby, also a girl.

After breastfeeding her baby and having a little respite, she would then share with her parents and everyone in the house those more often stupid, funny anecdotal experiences from the COVID Checkpoint.

Yes, she is one of hundreds of thousands of health workers in this country who risk their own safety to make others safe. Her father once told her that the highest calling in these difficult times is to serve at the frontlines which she acknowledged with a slow nod. But like any real combat, the frontline is where you face the enemy fire at close range. The longer the battle continues, the lesser is the chance of missing the enemy bullet. And this is where the parental instinct of being protective would find its way out.

This is the story of my youngest child and only daughter, Maryam Johannie Sultan Mosaid-Gavilo.

Maugan P. Mosaid, PhD (FB account: Maxim Sense) is a freelance writer. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics in the graduate school.

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Tips To Grow Healthy Tomatoes And Fill The Wallet

Tip # 1. Space your tomatoes anywhere from 2 to 4 feet.
Tip # 2. Stake the tomatoes so it won’t fell to the ground.
Tip # 3. Prune the tomatoes by removing the suckers.
Tip # 4. Feed/fertilize the tomatoes every two weeks.
Tip # 5. Water the tomatoes early in the morning.

Here’s the complete video I got from http://www.growingwisdom.com/:

But, why my sudden interest for growing tomatoes? Of course, we can never over-emphasize the important benefits of tomatoes. In addition to vitamin C, Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant properties and rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene and bone health.

I now confess that my interest in growing tomatoes is both for the health benefits and income.

I attended an agricultural productivity seminar last month and I got particularly interested in growing vegetables in a greenhouse. Greenhouse gardening offers the following advantages: 1. soil moisture, humidity and temperature are controlled 2. the plants are perfectly shielded from insect attacks 3. there is no such thing as cropping season, meaning, planting can be done anytime of the year.

In the example that was shown, a 272 square meter lot can produce as much as 7 tons of tomatoes. On off-season, tomatoes command a price of half a dollar per kilo in our town. Seven thousand kilos multiplied by 50 cents equals $3,500. Take away the $500 as production cost and this means a net income of $3,000 per cropping from a small area. If I make 3 croppings a year this gives me an annual net income of $9,000 per greenhouse. According to the lecturer, the return on investment is 3 years which could be lesser if I make use of locally available materials to build the greenhouse.

The greenhouse is equipped with a computer and sensors that trigger the computer program to control soil moisture, humidity and temperature by sprinkling the right amount of water.

My farm lot is about one kilometer away from the public market. I can’t wait to start this farm enterprise, but wait; I have yet to build the greenhouse and I am seriously considering bamboo, tie wires and fine nylon nets as construction materials.

Now, did I trigger your interest too?

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“We often superimpose a mental grid over things we photograph to help with composition. This week, let’s go literal.” – Michelle W.

Here is mine:

Grid (1)

This is the stair landing going to the second floor of our house.

Grid (2)

And this is the one that leads to the viewing deck at the rooftop.

What is more interesting about all these is that they were designed by me and the welder is my son-in-law. I like our partnership because we both learn from each other. I’ve learned the basic concepts of welding and I can do welding job now. He was also learning fast the rudiments and concepts of design as in: symmetry, balance, variety, movement and overall impact.


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Eidel Fit’r in our Corner of the World

Close to 2 billion Muslims all over the world celebrate Eidel Fit’r today (July 17, 2015) to commemorate the day of Eid-el Fit’r in fitting celebrations in their respective communities. More often funfares and other forms of merry-making, not contrary to Islam, are included to make the occasion more lively as this is also a time for thanksgiving. It is a day of rejoicing, because in Islam, devout worship and the performance of good deeds deserving of the pleasure of Allah are considered just cause for celebration.

Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity” while Fiṭr means “break-fasting”; and so the holiday symbolizes the celebration of break-fasting after completing the fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therfore, is the first day of the month of Shawwal that comes after Ramadan.

Muslims are commanded by the Qur’an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.

The Sunnah (recommended acts) on the day of Eid are as follows:

  1. Waking up early.
  2. Preparing for personal cleanliness
  3. Taking a Ghusl (bath) after Fajr.
  4. Brushing of the teeth (shewaq).
  5. Wearing of best dress appropriate for the occasion.
  6. Using perfume (esp. for men).
  7. Having breakfast on Eid-el-Fitr before going to the prayer ground.
  8. Giving of Saddaqah (alms-giving).
  9. Going to the prayer ground early.
  10. Offering Salaat-al-Eid in congregation in an open place except when the weather condition is not favorable.
  11. Using two separate route to and from the prayer ground.
  12. Reciting the Takbir.

Muslims at the prayer ground in Matalam.

Muslims at the prayer ground in Matalam.

In our corner of the world (Poblacion, Matalam, North Cotabato, Philippines), Muslim devotees started to converge at the prayer ground (which is an open space at the playground of the Matalam High School)  as early as 5:45 a.m. I was a bit surprise to see Muslim women arriving in bigger numbers than the men until at about 6:30 a.m. there were already more men than women.

Before the start of the Eid congregation prayer, I was asked by the Imam (congregational prayer leader) to make some announcements on anything relevant to the occasion.

eidfitr (11)

I told the Muslim faithfuls that Ramadhan is an occasion for the highest level of spiritual retreat and soul cleansing to take place. The holy month of Ramadhan is an Islamic assertion to give utmost dedication and commitment to the performance of iba’dah and purification – meaning, a way to live life that is free from sin and unworthy mundane indulgence. The essence of Ramadhan is practicing a way of life that ensures any Muslim faithful of a place in Heaven, and therefore, should be carried out throughout the year as death can come anytime. The traditional notion that after Ramadan, one is free to return to his/her usual imperfect (sinful) way of life, is absolutely wrong, hence, a spiritual reawakening is necessary to correct this.

Ramadhan, in fact, is the annual training ground for every Muslim faithful to demonstrate that he/she is capable of rising above mundane dependence on food, water and sex during the day. As a training ground, it is expected that the virtues of fasting be kept alive and practiced until the next Ramadhan comes.

I like the sermon of Ustadz Norodin Abas especially the portion where he said that there are three kinds of people that exist in this world with respect to faith and material possessions.

Ustadz Norodin Abas deliveing his sermon.

Ustadz Norodin Abas deliveing his sermon.

1. Those whose faith increases as their material possessions increase and decreases as their material possessions decrease;

2. Those who were blinded by materialism that, despite huge increase in their material possessions, they remain adamant and unfaithful to God; and

3. Those who remain steadfast in their faith despite being poor or less fortunate than others.

Of course, the best type of people are those belonging to no. 3. He said, however, that one does not have to be poor to be steadfast in his faith. He asked: “Do you know what is better than no. 3?” “Those who keep their faith regardless of whether they are poor or rich”. Still, much better than this, are those who, not only keep their faith, but remember to share with the poor in times of abundance, and those who are able to keep their faith and resist envy and temptation in times of deprivation.

May Allah (swt) grant the Muslim Faithfuls inner peace, peaceful co-existence with their fellow human beings (Muslims and non-Muslims) and eternal peace in the Hereafter.

Happy Eidel Fit’r celebrations to all.

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Song of a Fallen Migratory Bird

migratory bird

All alone am I
Ever since your goodbye
With just the beat of my heart
Ever since we’ve been apart

All alone am I
With only just a sigh
For all the happy moments
Of togetherness and sentiments

All alone am I
From the time you came by
I’ve never seen such a nice blend
That I thought would never end

All alone am I
In the blink of an eye
I realize you are now too far
And out of reach like a distant star

All alone am I
No use praying on high
For one that can’t be mine
No matter what I put on the line

All alone am I
Is all I can sigh
I’d better live with the knife
Without you in my life

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Descent. Yes. This leads me to one of my favorite mountain resorts, Camp Anatolia, in the town of Midsayap, North Cotabato.

Here are the steps that descend to the deep cool pool.

ca (8)

ca (18)

ca (16)

I love to indulge here in this cool mountain resort.

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Photo Challenge: Cover Art

This is the cover of my grand-daughter’s photo album. She will be two years old on November 6, 2014. The album will be displayed for guests to see on that big day.

Just to give you a glimpse of what’s inside this photo album:

She shows us the proper way to eat spaghetti.

She is nicknamed “Drew” because she thinks that she is another Drew Barrymore 🙂

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Signs. Yes. And I want this sign to pass the strongest message ever unto you, to me and to all of us.

1. Causes of Climate Change


1.1 burning of fossil fuels

factory emissions

1.2 Forest Fires

forest fire

2. Effects:

2.1 global warming


2.2 coral bleaching

coral bleaching

2.3 melting of the polar ice caps

melting ice caps

And a lot more.

Probably, there is nothing or very little, that we can do for causes of climate change which are due to natural causes such as volcanic eruption, tilting of the earth’s axis, erratic earth’s orbital plane and the sun’s behavior.

But, please. For causes which are man-made like unabated burning of fossil fuels, forest fires, slash-and-burn agriculture, improper disposal of liquid and solid wastes, cutting of trees and destruction of the ecosystems.. let us do something about it.

The race to save our world from the catastrophic effect of global warming against those who continue to contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer is, by far, the biggest game that homo sapiens have to engage. While we are badly losing this race, more than 90% of the world’s population are unmindful of this reality.

When do we act? Maybe when we already experience hardness of breathing due to scarcity of oxygen from the air that we breathe.

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