Health

The first Omicron death in Singapore


On the afternoon of January 22, Singapore recorded the first death from infection with the Omicron variant, a 92-year-old woman who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said this person contracted the virus from a family member, with no medical history. She died on January 20, about 10 days after contracting the disease.

“After the examination, the doctor concluded that the death was caused by Covid-19, specifically infection with the Omicron variant,” the Ministry of Health stated.

On January 21, Singapore reported more than 3,100 new nCoV infections, including more than 2,700 domestic cases and 361 imported cases. Since the end of 2021, the country has switched its strategy to living with Covid-19. To achieve this goal, experts said that the country needs to increase the vaccination rate for its people first; at the same time equipping a strong health system to face the risk that the number of community infections may increase in the new normal.

In 2022, experts predict that Southeast Asian countries will become Omicron infection hotspots because they have not been attacked by the virus before.

People scan a QR code for medical declaration before entering a shopping mall in Singapore, November 2021. Photo: Reuters

According to the epidemiological model of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) – an independent medical research center founded by billionaire Bill Gates, in March, a large number of the world’s population will be infected with Omicron. The booster dose injection campaign is also promoted continuously. At that time, global immunity was always highest at all times. In the following week or months, viral transmission is expected to decline dramatically.

However, the impact of future nCoV on human health will be less severe than that of the previous virus strain. Vaccines frequently adapt to new antigens or strains. The advent of antiretroviral drugs and the insights gleaned from two years help vulnerable people protect themselves in future waves.

The Omicron variant was first recorded in November 2021, discovered in South Africa, and has since spread to more than 120 countries and territories. The World Health Organization classifies Omicron as “high risk”. Recent surveys in many countries have shown that Omicron causes milder symptoms than the Delta strain, but spreads faster, as the number of infections increases, leading to an increase in the number of severe cases and deaths, which can overload the health system.

Thuc Linh (Follow CNA)

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