Last year, when the Delta variant was wreaking havoc all over the world, we had but one hope: defeat this variant, and we’ll be able to return to normalcy.
At one point, around 5,000 cases were being reported a day in Singapore, the highest daily numbers since the pandemic began.
Once the numbers started to dwindle—thanks to tightened restrictions and increased vaccinations—it seemed that we’d finally be able to ease restrictions and our worries.
But just like it has done consistently throughout the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic provided another twist in this long tale: the Omicron variant.
Though it seems to be less deadly, the Omicron variant is more transmissible, which still presents a threat to our healthcare system.
And according to one expert, we could start seeing daily case numbers that we hadn’t anticipated.
There Could Be 15,000 COVID-19 Cases Daily When the Omicron Wave Hits S’pore
A Ministry of Health (MOH) official has warned that we could see 15,000 new COVID-19 cases daily once the Omicron wave hits Singapore.
Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, MOH’s director of medical services, said he “definitely expects” the new variant to trigger a fresh wave of infections here.
“We will watch the situation closely to see if the increase in case numbers reported over the last two days reflects the start of such a wave in Singapore,” he said.
The number he cited—5,000—is consistent with the numbers seen in other countries that have grappled with the Omicron strain, such as South Africa, the UK, and Denmark.
More Infectious, But Lower Risk of Hospitalisations
As is evident to even the layperson, the Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous COVID-19 iterations, even the Delta strain.
According to Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, Singapore reported around 3,000 Delta cases daily between late October and early November in 2021. At the time, cases doubled at a rate of between six and eight days.
Omicron infections, however, could double in just two to three days.
But it’s not all bad news.
The Omicron variant appears to carry a lower risk of hospitalisation and severe infections, as compared to the Delta variant.
In fact, studies show a 67 to 80% lower risk of hospitalisation as well as a 70% lower risk of severe infections.
However, due to its high transmissibility, there’s still a risk an Omicron wave could lead to a “significantly higher absolute number” of hospitalisations, Assoc Prof Mak said.
In total, Singapore has reported 2,252 cases of the Omicron variant. Just three of them have needed oxygen supplementation, and none has required intensive care so far.
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