The Department of Health (DoH) reported an additional 661 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Friday, bringing the tally of positive cases to 28,459.

Those were the numbers as of 4 p.m. Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire reported at a briefing.

Sa total confirmed natin, meron tayong 288 recovered kaya ang recoveries ay 7,378. Sa deaths naman, meron nadagdag na 14, kaya nasa 1,130 deaths na naitala,” she said during the briefing. (Of our total confirmed cases, there are 288 who recovered which makes the total recoveries 7,378. For deaths, there are an additional 14 which makes it 1,130 total deaths recorded.)

Last Thursday’s data release had the total number of COVID-19 cases at 27,779.

Of the 661 additional cases, 460 were “fresh” cases while 201 were “late” cases. “Fresh” cases are test results that were released to a patient within the last three days before the DoH announcement, while “late” cases are test results that were released to a patient four days or more before the DoH announcement.

Ms. Vergeire also warned the public against considering the steroid called dexamethasone as a “miracle” cure for COVID-19 as this is still not yet approved locally as a treatment for the virus. Dexamethasone was seen to improve some severe cases of COVID-19 in trials by researchers in the UK, but more studies and trials are ongoing to confirm this.

Hindi ito lunas sa COVID-19 at kami nagbibigay ng babala sa unregulated use sa gamot na ito na walang payo o prescription ng doktor (This is not a cure for COVID-19 and we are giving a warning on the unregulated use of this medicine without advice and a prescription from the doctor),” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday released an advisory which stated that the selling of unregistered dexamethasone, selling of the drug without a prescription, and selling of the drug online are illegal.

Dexamethasone was the “magic pill” President Rodrigo R. Duterte mentioned in a speech earlier this week. Both Ms. Vergeire and his Spokesperson Harry L. Roque denied its effectiveness since it’s seen to treat only a small percentage of severe cases and more studies need to be done. — Gillian M. Cortez