COVID-19: Singapore’s fatality rate

Why the surge in Covid-19 deaths in S'pore, and what it means for the future
As seen in other countries, most spikes in Covid-19 cases and deaths are in unvaccinated people, says Professor Dale Fisher. PHOTO: ST FILE

Twelve people have died of Covid-19 this month, even as more than three in four people here have been fully vaccinated.

Against this, we had 37 deaths between January last year, when Covid-19 arrived in Singapore, and July 2021. Over that period, more than 64,000 people were diagnosed with the disease. So why has the number of deaths surged, even as vaccination rates here have gone up?

The short answer is the Delta variant. This variant, which is now infecting people in the community here, spreads two to four times more easily, compared with the original wild-type virus. People who are infected with the Delta variant have very much higher viral loads, and vaccines do not work as well against it, though they do still give fairly high levels of protection.

50-yr-old is youngest S'porean Covid-19 fatality; 1,457 new cases

A total of 1,457 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Singapore on Wednesday (Sept 22), said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its nightly update.

Three Singaporeans have also died of Covid-19 complications, taking the Republic's Covid-19 death toll to 68, said MOH. This takes the total number of deaths recorded over the past two months to 31, making it almost half of the total Covid-19 related death toll in Singapore.

Before this, the highest number of new Covid-19 cases recorded in Singapore stood at 1,426 cases on April 20 last year.

Why is Singapore's COVID-19 death rate the world's lowest

Singapore has the lowest coronavirus case fatality count globally, with just 27 deaths among the more than 57,000 people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian island.

At 0.05%, Singapore's death rate is well below the global average of around 3%, according to data compiled by Reuters from countries that have recorded more than 1,000 cases. A comparison with countries with a similar sized population shows a stark difference - Denmark's death rate is around 3%, while Finland's is around 4%.

Further, nobody has died from the disease in Singapore for more than two months, according to its health ministry. The country’s leading disease experts said the following are the main factors behind the phenomenon:

Singapore’s Covid-19 case fatality rate is remarkably low. Why?

A friend of mine, another journalist, texts me every few days with the latest coronavirus case and death counts from Singapore. On Monday: “Singapore is now at 28k cases and 22 deaths.” I checked the Johns Hopkins dashboard on Wednesday morning to confirm: 29,364 confirmed Covid-19 cases and still just 22 deaths.

All of us are amateur epidemiologists now, and my friend’s fascination with Singapore is all about the country’s remarkably low case fatality rate. Based on those numbers, just 0.07 percent of people in Singapore who contracted the coronavirus have died from it. Compare that to the United States, where more than 6 percent of confirmed Covid-19 cases have resulted in death.

To look at it a different way, the chart above compares total Covid-19 deaths per million people in both countries. The US is trying to bend the curve. Singapore doesn’t even have a curve to speak of. What’s going on?

Singapore reports first 2 deaths from COVID-19

Two patients in Singapore have died from complications due to COVID-19, the first deaths in the country linked to the infection.

The patients – a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and 64-year-old Indonesian man – died on Saturday morning (Mar 21), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

The woman, known as Case 90, was linked to the cluster at The Life Church and Missions Singapore, and had a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension.

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Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus on 23 Jan 2020
Guests at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa yesterday. A man from China who is the first to test positive for the Wuhan virus in Singapore had stayed at the resort, said the Health Ministry. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

A China national has tested positive for the Wuhan virus in Singapore, with another likely to have the virus.

The 66-year-old man, a Wuhan resident, arrived in Singapore with nine travelling companions on Monday (Jan 20), and stayed at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa resort, the Ministry of Health said at a briefing on Thursday night (23 Jan 2020).

All the rooms at the hotel where the man and his travelling companions stayed in have been sanitised and sealed off.

Singapore reports first deaths from COVID-19

Two patients died from Covid-19 on Saturday morning (March 21) due to complications, the first deaths the Republic has seen.

A 75-year-old Singaporean woman with a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension died at 7.52am.

She had been admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Feb 23 for pneumonia and was confirmed to have Covid-19 the same day.

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Autumn equinox 2021 秋分 Qiūfēn

What is the September Equinox?

The September equinox marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere
The September equinox, also called southward equinox, is the moment in time (not a day-long event) when the Sun stands directly above the equator while crossing from the north to the south. For the Northern Hemisphere (where nearly 90% of the world's population live) it is the autumnal equinox (fall equinox) as it is the moment when summer ends and autumn (fall) begins, while for the Southern Hemisphere it is the vernal equinox (spring equinox), the moment when winter ends and spring begins. Up until the September equinox the Sun rises and sets more to the north of the equator, and afterwards it rises and sets more to the south.

The September equinox usually occurs every year on September 21 to 23. Very occasionally it can also fall on September 21 or 24. The dates given on this page are based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which for practical purposes is equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). While the September equinox occurs at the same moment in time all over the world, the date and local time differ from place to place depending on the year and a location's time zone. For locations that are ahead of UTC (further east) it may fall on the day after, and for locations that are behind UTC (further west) it may fall on the day before. To find out the exact date and time of the September equinox 2019 in your area use this seasons calculator.

The September equinox is one of four days (two equinoxes and two solstices) throughout the year that mark the beginning of a new season. The other days are the March equinox, the June solstice and the December solstice.

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Zhong Qiu Jie 中秋节 Mooncake Festival 2021

Taking place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, this festival is sometimes referred to as 'Lantern Festival' (not to be confused with the Lantern Festival which ends Chinese New Year) or 'Mooncake Festival' in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, due to the integral part moon cakes play in the festival.

It commemorates the 14th-century revolution led by Yuan Zhang, who smuggled notes inside moon cakes and used lighted lanterns as a signal to launch the revolt. One of the highlights of the festival is the Moon Cake Fair, where hundreds of festive stalls line the streets of Chinatown selling an astonishing variety of moon cakes, traditional paper lanterns, decorations and other delicacies. Children parade down the streets with their brightly lit lanterns in the Children's Lantern Procession. The Chinese Garden becomes a fairyland of lights and colours for the Lantern Festival, and there is also a range of cultural shows and performances including lion and dragon dancing, Chinese instrumentalists and craftsmen.

In fact, with far too much festivity for one day, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a month-long celebration in Singapore and a great period in which to visit the city.

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Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节

One of the loveliest Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore is about celebration with the family, lantern processions and oh-so-sweet mooncakes.

The cute biscuits shaped like piglets encased in little baskets are actually made of the same dough as traditional mooncakes. Initially, they were the result of bakers testing oven temperatures on plain pastry but became so popular that they are now a staple in their own right.

Marking the end of the autumn harvest, the Mid-Autumn Festival was traditionally a time to give thanks to the gods.

It is also a time of year that the moon is at its brightest, which is why lunar legends have always been attached to the celebration. Notably, the story of Chang Er, the wife of a merciless king who downed the elixir of immortality he had intended to drink, to save her people from his tyrannical rule.

The tale goes that she ascended to the moon after that, and has been worshipped by the Chinese as a Moon Goddess ever since.

When dusk falls

Since the Mid-Autumn Festival is about lunar appreciation, celebrations go into full swing once the sun goes down.

Moon-viewing parties are a popular way to enjoy the occasion, as family and friends sit in gardens lit by the soft glow of paper lanterns, sip tea, nibble on mooncakes, and if so inspired, compose poetry in venerable Tang Dynasty fashion.

Lanterns all a-glow

Children love this festival because they get to tote lanterns.

The traditional opt for those lighted by wax candles – elegant paper versions or more elaborate multi-hued cellophane and wire structures shaped into everything from cars to cartoon characters.

There are also unfortunately, plastic battery-operated music-emitting versions – but to each his own.

You’ll get to examine the real thing up close at some of the celebrations around the island, particularly in Chinatown where large beautiful lanterns will be on display – marvels of creativity, artistry and traditional craftsmanship. You’ll also get to sample mooncakes and fine teas at the street bazaars, watch nightly performances and peek at lantern-painting competitions.

Did you know?

The cute biscuits shaped like piglets encased in little baskets are actually made of the same dough as traditional mooncakes. Initially, they were the result of bakers testing oven temperatures on plain pastry but became so popular that they are now a staple in their own right.

Mad about mooncakes

Without a doubt, mooncakes are the main highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Legend has it that they helped to free Yuan China from Mongol rule, after rebels organised an uprising by passing messages hidden in these seasonal sweets. Today, you’ll find them in many varieties, from the traditional with lotus seed paste and egg yolk, to snowskin versions filled with everything from chocolate to champagne truffle. They are best enjoyed with a strong, palate-cleansing cup of Chinese tea.

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Moon cake: Traditional dessert during China's Mid-Autumn Festival

A baker makes moon cakes at a bakery in the Tangqi ancient town in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 29, 2017.

Moon cake is Chinese people's traditional dessert during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or Oct. 4 this year.

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Mooncake is a symbol of family reunion for its round shape.

Image result for nuts eaten during mid-autumn festival
Pomelo is not only round in shape, its Chinese name, you zi, is also a homophone for words that mean "bless the son."
Image result for nuts eaten during mid-autumn festival
The tradition of eating taro on Mid-Autumn Festival dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) but the meaning of eating taro differs from different Chinese regions. One of them believes that eating taro during Mid-Autumn Festival can ward off the evil spirits.
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Water Caltrop - A Kind of Nut Boiled and Eaten with Mooncakes