Singapore has decided to hit the pause button on its reopening plans, in keeping with the need to adapt flexible measures quickly to deal with the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 cases are surging despite the high vaccination rates, and may exceed 1,000 cases a day. The rapid and exponential increase is, no doubt, a cause for concern. The number of cases has doubled twice since Aug 23, and by official estimates, daily cases could peak at 3,200. These figures should concentrate minds on the need for preventive action so the healthcare system is not overwhelmed, particularly by the number of people who are in intensive care units (ICUs) and those in need of oxygen support. The number of deaths might likely be a grim corollary of this trend.
It is more crucial to look at the severely ill than just the overall number of cases in order to put the pandemic in realistic perspective. These ICU numbers and those requiring oxygen support need close watching in the next weeks. If they rise along a trajectory similar to the total number of cases, then additional measures might be unavoidable to slow transmissions. But if the number of such cases is relatively stable or displays a gradual increase, the authorities might have less reason to fear that resources in hospitals will not be sufficient to cope.