Sunday, May 17, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Singapore will have to live with Covid-19 for some time, expect ‘recurring waves’: NCID executive director

By Low Youjin

15 May, 2020

SINGAPORE — It is not sustainable for Singapore to remain in its circuit breaker phase to stem the spread of Covid-19, and the nation will have to live with the coronavirus for some time until a vaccine is found, said National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) executive director Leo Yee Sin.

But until then, the country will have to buy itself time to reduce the impact of the virus by having a solid plan in place, said the infectious diseases specialist.

“We are hoping to be able to suppress the transmission (of the virus), but I do not think we can attain complete elimination,” Professor Leo said on Thursday (May 14) evening during the sixth edition of the Covid-19: Updates from Singapore webinar series.

Friday, May 15, 2020

New COVID-19 test developed in Singapore detects past infection within an hour

By Chew Hui Min

15 May 2020

SINGAPORE: A new COVID-19 test that can rapidly assess if a person has been previously infected with the coronavirus is now available to hospitals in Singapore.

Launched on Friday (May 15), the cPass serology test detects antibodies - formed by the body to fight off infections - in the blood or serum of patients.

It is not used to check for active infection. Its main purpose rather, is for contact tracing, detecting asymptomatic cases and assessing herd immunity. Such serological tests have been used in Singapore for contact tracing.

What is different about the new test developed by Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School is that it produces results in just an hour instead of days, a world first.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

4 in 10 S’poreans rate political leaders highly in Covid-19 response, a third surprised at ‘poor’ preparations: Survey


14 May, 2020

SINGAPORE — Around the world, people’s confidence is generally wavering in their national leaders’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, an international study released on Wednesday (May 13) has found.

This includes Singapore, where 41 per cent of Singaporeans rated their leaders highly, slightly ahead of the global average of 40 per cent but behind places such as China (86 per cent), Vietnam (82 per cent), New Zealand (67 per cent), Malaysia (59 per cent), Taiwan (52 per cent) and the Philippines (45 per cent).

S$16 billion in COVID-19 support given out as of May: Indranee Rajah

13 May 2020

SINGAPORE: The Government has provided more than S$16 billion worth of assistance to Singaporeans and Singaporean companies so far, as the country crosses the halfway point of its extended "circuit breaker" period, said Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah on Wednesday (May 13).

This support was provided between March and May under the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, said the minister in a Facebook post.

It includes S$7 billion under the Jobs Support Scheme to help companies retain and pay local workers, said Ms Indranee, adding that another S$4 billion will be paid out in May.

In polarised US, mask-wearing is now a contested declaration of identity

By Frank Bruni

13 May, 2020

I’ve heard of Muslim women in America being taunted for wearing hijabs, I’ve heard of Jewish men being mocked for wearing yarmulkes and now I’ve heard it all: A friend of mine was cursed by a passing stranger the other day for wearing a protective mask.

There is, of course, a rather nasty virus going around, and one way to lessen the chance of its spread, especially from you to someone else, is to cover your nose and mouth. Call it civic responsibility. Call it science.

But science is no match for tribalism in this dysfunctional country. Truth is whatever validates your prejudices, feeds your sense of grievance and fuels your antipathy toward the people you’ve decided are on some other side.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Air Travel Is Going to Be Very Bad, for a Very Long Time

"there are only two things that [would] make people come back... One is a vaccine, so people feel safe going to the airport or sitting with 150 strangers in a plane. The other is people having the wherewithal to travel. Do you have a job? Do you have enough money that you can think of taking your family on a vacation? These are things that control the airlines’ future, and that they cannot do anything about.”

Monday, May 11, 2020

Virus conspiracists in the US elevate a new champion

The rise of Dr Judy Mikovits is the latest twist in the virus disinformation wars, which have swelled throughout the pandemic.

USA Today Network via Reuters

10 May, 2020

NEW YORK — In a video posted to YouTube on Monday (May 4), a woman animatedly described an unsubstantiated secret plot by global elites like Bill Gates and Dr Anthony Fauci to use the coronavirus pandemic to profit and grab political power.

In the 26-minute video, the woman asserted how Dr Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice on the coronavirus, had buried her research about how vaccines can damage people’s immune systems. It is those weakened immune systems, she declared, that have made people susceptible to illnesses like Covid-19.

The video, a scene from a longer dubious documentary called “Plandemic,” was quickly seized upon by anti-vaccinators, the conspiracy group QAnon and activists from the Reopen America movement, generating more than 8 million views. And it has turned the woman — Dr Judy Mikovits, 62, a discredited scientist — into a new star of virus disinformation.

[The problem with disinformation is that it distracts from the issue, it diverts attention to debunking such disinformation, it leads people down a clearly false path and ultimately a dead end, it promotes demonstrably wrong and dangerous ideas, it diverts resources to dead end research, and lengthens the process of getting to the right answer. Freedom of Expression will allow a thousand flowers to bloom, but then there must be a process of culling the wheat from the chaff. If the problem calls for a thousand solution, then yes, leave the thousand blooming flowers alone. But if some of the flowers (proposed solutions) have been discredited, debunked, disproof, are clearly wrong, then the avenues of further research should rightly focus on the more promising proposals. Not be distracted, diverted, and diluted.]

Human Writes: We can't really know how many Covid-19 cases Malaysia has

Sunday, 26 Apr 2020

By Mangai Balasegaram

The daily Covid-19 infection numbers in Malaysia dropped to double digits for several days in the week beginning April 20, 2020. That’s encouraging. But Malaysians can’t celebrate just yet.

These numbers must be treated with caution. As I’ll explain, the numbers have unseen layers, just like the disease. You have to peel away the layers to get the full story.

For example, Germany’s high case numbers might just reflect extensive testing – 400,000 tests were done in just one week recently in April 2020, far more than most countries have done in total.

Singapore was seen as a success story mid-April 2020, averaging only 28 new cases a day – until April 21 when it reported over 1,000 cases, mostly among foreign workers. Headlines screamed failure, as it now has the most cases in Asia. But Singapore is vigorously testing and tracing all contacts of cases. The follow-up of patient number 42, a Bangladeshi migrant worker, led authorities to an explosion of cases among foreign workers that might easily have been missed, especially as symptoms were mild.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Predicted To Fall Nearly 8% — Largest Decrease Ever

April 30, 2020

Jennifer Ludden
Jeff Brady

The San Gabriel Mountains are seen under a clear sky beyond downtown Los Angeles. Air quality in the U.S. and elsewhere has been improved by reduced traffic from coronavirus restrictions and weeks of rainstorms.  David McNew/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering the biggest shock to the global energy system in seven decades, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.

Global energy demand is expected to fall by 6% this year, seven times the decline brought by the financial crisis 10 years ago. IEA projections show oil and gas being hit hard. But demand for coal could fall by an extraordinary 8% — the largest decline since World War II.

Rise of the Machines, or War of the Worlds.

[So as humans retreat from the cities and towns, nature has abhorred the vacuum and moved in to reclaim or re-occupy her domain. 

At the same time, the Robots are taking over as well.]

Miniature robot car goes on pedestrian paths to remind visitors to adhere to safe distancing rules

By Matthew Loh

Named O-R3, the robot (pictured) has been deployed as a "safe distancing ambassador" at Bedok Reservoir by national water agency PUB since April 23, 2020.

28 April, 2020

SINGAPORE — Joggers at Bedok Reservoir may have noticed a white automated miniature car dutifully plying its route along pedestrian paths, urging visitors to abide by safe distancing requirements and to “stay safe, stay home”.

Named O-R3, the robot has been deployed as a "safe distancing ambassador" at the reservoir by national water agency PUB since April 23.