The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that the country’s case fatality rate (CFR) as of December 7, 2021 is currently at 1.61% and is below the global average of 2.0%. This Philippine CFR was markedly lower than the 9% CFR reported in the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index press release.

The Department added that after cases and deaths peaked in September 2021, both have continuously declined after, along with the monthly case fatality rates. In October 2021, there were 4,348 deaths and an October 2021 CFR of 1.84% and a slightly lower figure for November 2021 with 838 deaths and a November CFR of 1.81%.

The DOH further noted that the Philippine CFR used in the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index was the rolling-average CFR in Our World in Data (OWID). The 9% CFR calculated by the OWID was based on the number of reported deaths per day from November 18 to 27, 2021. However, of the 2,096 deaths reported for that period, only 16% occurred in November, while 80% occurred between August to October. The high reported deaths in this latter part of November 2021 was due to delayed encoding, validation, and reporting of death information to COVIDKaya.

“The COVID-19 deaths have to be verified by local Epidemiology and Surveillance Units on the ground. We are aware of the delays in encoding of death information to COVIDKaya hence we are addressing this issue with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure our COVID-19 data is up to date,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

Vaccination and improvements in our health care capacities and systems may have contributed to the decline of our CFR. However, while overall COVID-19 deaths have markedly declined over the past months, our analysis of hospital admissions showed that 85% of those hospitalized were those who are not yet fully vaccinated. Also, those with severe or critical COVID-19 disease were 1.75 times more likely among the unvaccinated, while deaths due to COVID-19 were 2.6 times more likely also among the unvaccinated.

“The vaccination program has helped lower our case fatality rate. Hence, the DOH continues to urge the high-risk population, especially senior citizens and those with underlying conditions, to get fully vaccinated to provide them with additional protection against COVID-19,” said Usec. Vergeire.