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Nowhere to go but up

Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Resilience Ranking for November put the Philippines in the unenviable position of “worst place to be in a pandemic” out of 53 countries for the third month in a row.

A resiliency score of 43.1 for November remained the worst among 53 countries, even if the country registered a slight improvement from its scores of 40.5 in October and 40.2 in September, which were both lowest among ranked countries for those periods.

“Southeast Asia continues to populate the bottom of the ranking with Philippines remaining in last place, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia,” said the November 30 report dubbed as “The Best and Worst Places to Be as Winter Meets Omicron.”

“The lowest two places on the ranking have given out less than 100 COVID shots per 100 people, a key barrier to improving their scores,” it added. The report said the Philippines has given out only 73.2 doses per 100 people.

The COVID Resilience Ranking is a monthly snapshot of where the virus is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic upheaval. The indicators used in the report include virus containment, quality of health care, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and progress toward restarting travel.

Malacañang downplayed the Philippines’ poor ranking, choosing instead to focus on “positive results” such as the continued drop in active cases, with the 425 reported as of November 30 being the lowest for the year. The latest positivity rate of 2.1 percent was also touted as it is one of the lowest achieved since testing data became available in April 2020. It was also pointed out that the country’s 1.71 percent case fatality rate remains one of the lowest in the world.

Although we have a lot of catching up to do, it is hoped that the 3-day Bayanihan Bakunahan will also improve the country’s performance compared to the rest of the world in terms of response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as we brace ourselves for whatever the Omicron variant may bring.

There is no doubt that after almost two years, the Philippines’ pandemic response is finally showing improvement. However, when compared to the rest of the world, it is truly sobering to see that we are still far behind the best and the rest. Hopefully our country’s leaders can continue improving the quality of our response so we can also catch up with the rest of the world that is already focused on more advanced metrics when it comes to judging the quality of government response.*

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