The “COVID-19: Updates from Singapore” weekly webinar series is a forum for leading clinicians, scientists, public health officials and policy makers to share insights into their field of study. The sixth edition of the webinar was held on Thursday, 14 May 2020.
This week’s invited guest, Professor Leo Yee Sin, is a Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Executive Director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). A familiar face in the media, Prof Leo has been working closely with the multi-ministry taskforce in Singapore to advise them on clinical and policy-relevant issues on the novel coronavirus and what could be done to curb its spread.
Prof Leo proceeded to give an overview of the current COVID-19 situation on the ground in Singapore, the triage and clinical management measures NCID has put in place to cope with this new outbreak and the kinds of public health intervention and preventive measures to be taken moving forward.
In her talk SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 – Unique Transmission Patterns, Diagnostic Hurdles and Clinical Management Challenges, Prof Leo outlined the distribution of cases in Singapore based on age group and gender, and gave an analysis looking at the age group in relation to disease severity. Prof Leo stressed that there is not one particular demographic which is immune to the novel pathogen and COVID-19. She proceeded to compare transmission stages and ‘virus shedding’ in patients with of SARS-CoV-2, vis-à-vis SARS in 2003 and seasonal influenza.
Citing studies that have been published so far on COVID-19, Prof Leo suggested that COVID-19 is likely not a temporary event and Singaporeans would have to learn to live, manage and curb its spread until a vaccine becomes available. She added that the aim would be to develop a system that contains the virus so that its impact and load on our health and healthcare infrastructures are minimised.
- “COVID-19 could be with us for a long time, but it can be contained: Head of NCID", Channel NewsAsia, 14 May 2020
- “Singapore will have to live with Covid-19 for some time, expect ‘recurring waves’: NCID executive director", TODAY, 14 May 2020
- “国家传染病中心主任梁玉心：与病毒长期作战 我国须有足够资源应对新一波疫情", Lianhe Zaobao, 15 May 2020