Covid situation here could be more dangerous than last year: Expert
NCID director urges public to go above and beyond government restrictions
The nation's Covid-19 situation could be more dangerous than it was just before the circuit breaker last year, and people must go above and beyond what is being asked for to keep safe, said the National Centre for Infectious Diseases' (NCID) Associate Professor David Lye.
In a message circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms yesterday, the director of NCID's infectious disease research and training office called on those here to "do much more beyond what Government dictates".
The Straits Times verified the text with NCID, which confirmed that Prof Lye had written it.
Apart from exhorting people to stay home and avoid crowded places and big groups, he also called for people to form their own "small social bubble" consisting of those who are committed to socialising only within the bubble.
"For many, this is your immediate family," said Prof Lye, who is also a senior consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital's (TTSH) department of infectious diseases.
Prof Lye has co-authored multiple papers on Covid-19, covering topics such as potential treatments for coronavirus patients, how the virus may be transmitted, and the situation here.
Most recently, he co- authored a study on how recovered patients can be re-infected with the disease.
Prof Lye is also president of the College of Physicians, Singapore and Society of Infectious Disease (Singapore).
In yesterday's viral message, he said people should ensure they wear a mask over their mouth and nose even when walking in parks, and that more should get vaccinated as the recent outbreak at TTSH showed that not enough vulnerable elderly people have done so.
Prof Lye noted that the situation in Singapore last year was bad because of the huge outbreak in dormitories among migrant workers. This was contained with lockdowns - although this took a lot of resources.
This year, the many cases with no linkage suggest that the spread to the community from the outbreak at Changi Airport may be "wide and far", he said.
He added that 40 per cent to 50 per cent of those infected have no symptoms and can be equally infectious, while another 10 per cent can get sick enough to require oxygen.
"Yes, we have effective vaccines and treatment, and expanded testing capacity," he pointed out, but working against these efforts are the new variants that originate from India (and) which infected TTSH and Changi Airport staff despite masks and vaccinations.
"This is serious."
He concluded: "If you want to keep your family safe, you need to listen and do the above.
"If a country is overwhelmed like India, many will die including children and young people, and sick people cannot get a bed and dead bodies can't get cremated or buried.
"My colleague(s) and I don't want to see you in NCID or any of the hospitals."