A/Prof Natasha Howard, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, opined that Singapore can expect transmission rates to continue to be lower than in the United Kingdom or United States as the country has routinised and normalised effective safe management measures since the start of the pandemic and has high vaccination coverage. She added that data thus far suggest that an Omicron wave may be shorter than recent Delta waves, though this could change as more is learnt about the variant.
Prof Dale Fisher, Department of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, said that the two new threats to the country's health system are healthcare staff infections, requiring a period of time furloughed from work, and incidental COVID-19 in patients admitted for other reasons, which could overwhelm the isolation capacity. He shared that boosters do have some role in slowing transmission but it is not long-lasting especially for Omicron.
TODAY cited A/Prof Alex Cook, Vice-Dean of Research, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who commented that in the worst case scenario, more people could require ICU treatment at the peak of the Omicron wave than the current ICU capacity and it does not account for the new therapeutics such as antibodies. A/Prof Hsu Li Yang, Vice-Dean of Global Health and Programme Leader of Infectious Diseases, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, noted that although Singapore's vaccination rates are much higher compared to the UK and US, it is difficult to be certain that the healthcare system will not get overstretched if the virus spreads more freely in the community.
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Visiting Prof Tikki Pangestu opined that it is a misplaced and dangerous approach to see Omicron as a mild virus, and there are learning experiences from other nations that can be used to inform Singapore's response.
also cited Prof Teo Yik Ying, Dean of NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who shared that based on recent
reports, existing vaccines continue to be effective at reducing the risk of
disease and death upon an infection. NUH in the NewsNUHS in the News