A Man Got COVID-19 for the Fourth Time in the Latest COVID-19 Wave


In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me spell it out for you.

Singapore has been dealing with a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

According to Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, 3 in 10 cases are reinfections.

This man managed to get COVID-19 for the fourth time.

Man Gets COVID-19 for the Fourth Time

Dr Cai Yuanji told Shin Min Daily News that one-third of recent patients at his clinic got COVID-19 for the third time.

In particular, a middle-aged man managed to get COVID-19 for the fourth time.

Dr Cai noted that the man is in his 50s and has been asked to return for a blood test next week for a medical check-up.

Dr Cai, who works at Chua Medical Clinic and Surgery, told Shin Min Daily News that the clinic had seen an average of five confirmed COVID-19 cases every day, of which two are reinfections.

He observed that one-third of his patients were first-time infections while another third got COVID-19 for the second time. 

While it sucks to be reinfected, let alone four times, here’s some good news.

Associate Professor Alex Cook, deputy dean of the Saw Swee Fook School of Public Health, told Shin Min Daily News that most people currently dealing with COVID-19 have either been reinfected or are fully vaccinated.

Thus, the symptoms are less severe than before.

This news was confirmed by Dr Cai’s observations, noting that one-third of COVID-19 patients at his clinic had mild symptoms, one-third had moderate symptoms, and one-third had severe symptoms.

Those with more serious symptoms had to take oral medication for COVID-19. 

New Wave of COVID-19 Infections

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), daily infections have risen from about 1,400 a month ago to 4,000 last week.

However, Mr Ong said there is no evidence that the current strains of COVID-19 cause more severe illness.


If you’re wondering, multiple variants of COVID-19 are circulating, namely XBB, XBB.1.5, XBB.1.9, XBB.1.16, XBB.2.3, BN.1, and CH.1.1.

COVID-19 variants are beginning to sound like game prototypes.

Notably, there isn’t a dominant strain.

There have been concerns that the recent rise in local infections is due to travellers bringing the virus into the country.

However, Mr Ong said, “The understanding that this caused a rise in infection is incorrect. The virus is endemic, which means it is always circulating within our community.”


“In such a situation, what drives our local waves is not imported infections, but reinfection of existing individuals in the community.”

Remember to Take Precautions

Unfortunately, the recent rise in cases can add to the already heavy workload at hospitals.

Mr Ong urged community partners and general practitioners to educate their family, friends and patients to stay home, wear a mask if feeling unwell and get annual vaccinations if they are those vulnerable to the virus.

On 15 April 2023, the Ministry of Education (MOE) told Channel News Asia that schools might implement mask-wearing if too many students fall ill with respiratory symptoms. 

MOE said, “In cases where schools detect multiple students falling ill with respiratory symptoms, schools may step up on cleaning and disinfection of classrooms and common areas, and they may also implement targeted measures such as mask-wearing to prevent further spread among its school population.”

MOE noted that student absenteeism due to flu-like illnesses “remains manageable” but urged parents and students to be socially responsible.


In February, Singapore stood down nearly all COVID-19 restrictions, making masks mandatory only in healthcare facilities.

However, a commentary article on CNA wonders if the population has forgotten how to be socially responsible, especially as COVID-19 cases rise again.

Even though Singapore is living in a “new normal”, staying socially responsible is still essential to prevent our progress from regressing.

New COVID-19 Sub-variant

In late January, a new player entered the field of COVID-19 sub-variants.

We’re talking about Omnicron sub-variant XBB.1.16, a.k.a. Arcturus.


The Arcturus sub-variant is the main culprit behind the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in India.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently monitoring the situation.

The WHO noted that the sub-variant has one additional mutation in the spike protein and is more infectious than XBB.1.5.

Until recently, XBB.1.5, a.k.a Kraken, was the most infectious sub-variant.

Symptoms of the new sub-variant are mostly similar to other sub-variants.

You know, fever, shortness of breath, cough etc.

However, some patients have also reported having conjunctivitis and sticky eyes.

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The Science Behind Reinfections

You must be wondering: Why is there such a big hoo-ha about getting the COVID-19 vaccination if you will get reinfected anyway?


There’s an explanation behind this phenomenon.

Dr Liang Haonan, an infectious disease specialist at Rophi Clinic in Mount Elizabeth Novena, told Shin Min Daily News that antibodies weaken over time.

Since viruses like COVID-19 can mutate and evolve, reinfections occur.

However, getting vaccinated means that your symptoms would probably be milder.

That’s why you should still get vaccinated, even if you’re scared of needles.

Professor Paul Tambyah, president of the Aisa-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, told Shin Min Daily News that over time, as the number of people who have never gotten COVID-19 decrease, the number of new cases may also decline.

Though the number of cases increased to 4,000 a day last week, there’s no need to worry.

Mr Ong noted that the figure is a small fraction of the 20,000 or more cases Singapore saw per day at the height of the pandemic. Furthermore, hospitalisations are “far below” the figure during the pandemic’s peak.

He said, “What is happening is a clear demonstration of how far we have come. Even during a COVID-19 infection wave, like now, we continue to live life normally, are not preoccupied over infection numbers, and not constantly talking about it.

“This is what endemicity should look like.”