UST Medicine COVID-19 Study Group proposes “war plan” vs. COVID-19, new classifications, balancing of public health and economic concerns

A COVID-19 study group of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is proposing to the government a “war plan” to combat COVID-19 while balancing economic concerns.

Basing it on the premise of human beings’ natural adaptive immunity, the plan contextualizes the suggested actions to the Philippine setting and recognizes the following realities: 1) artificial vaccination is at the moment unavailable and will take time to be developed; 2) mass testing poses budget-intensive considerations; 3) flattening the curve will only buy us time until the virus strikes susceptible hosts again. With these in mind, the plan targets the “burning” of the virus by significantly reducing the pool of susceptible hosts; and 4) the varying severity of COVID-19 cases — from asymptomatic, to mild to moderate, and to severe to critical.

The plan proposes three new classifications: vulnerable to COVID-19 and thus requires non-negotiable protection; convalescent or recovered COVID-19 frontliners who with antibodies can serve again; and able-bodied people who can help restore economic activity to normal levels.

Among the action plans are to gradually resume normal economic activities, provided that only those who are able-bodied and thus at lowest risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19 will be allowed and will be provided with healthcare as they acquire natural adaptive immunity. Meanwhile, those who belong to the vulnerable / high-risk group will remain in full protection.

The plan also calls for the immediate deployment of field hospitals devoted solely to COVID-19 cases so that non-COVID-19 cases can continue to be serviced.

The study group is composed of Peter P. Ng, MD, Ll.B., PhD; Philipp U. Po, MD, Mary Jocelyn Y. Laygo, MD (Peer Reviewer), Redario C. Laygo, MD (Peer Reviewer), and Mr. Ricsoon P. Radam. Serving as advisers are Medicine and Surgery Dean Ma. Lourdes Domingo-Maglinao, MD and Assistant Dean Estrellita J. Ruiz, MD.

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