Key takeaways from Associate Professor Ben Leong’s essay which was written in response to Dr Tan Meng Wah’s post, “COVID-19: Why the ‘Mishandling’?”
- Assoc Prof Leong supports the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the manual contact tracing processes with his students.
- Singapore assumed COVID-19 as SARS and adopts SARS Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with the situation.
- According to him, Singapore’s initial execution was flawless and it was proclaimed the world’s Gold standard.
- Assoc Prof Leong repeats Mdm Ho Ching’s point that Singapore Technologies had a N95 factory line and were ready to ship masks back to Singapore, Taiwan had banned Singapore from exporting the masks back. That Singapore’s “supposed” friends are screwing us over. Singapore had to keep quiet about this else it will create panic.
- Assoc Prof Leong asked how would Dr Tan and others suggest Singapore get 5 million masks a day if Singapore made it compulsory to wear masks, noting that this was pre-circuit breaker.
- He asked did anyone calculate how much 5 million x 365 days worth of masks would have cost if COVID19 didn’t happen.
- On the point of the need to wear mask, he gave the assumption that if there are only 100 of those infected with COVID-19 running around back in Jan-Feb 2020, the probability of a person getting hemorrhoids is likely higher. Therefore, “not wearing masks was the correct and most logical choice at that point”.
- Testing capacity is the reason for the numbers generated by various countries. “Generally, it’s probably *much* worse than what’s reported”.
- Singapore had no choice to evacuate Singaporeans from overseas. Many of these returnees were infected and Singapore was not able to control the second wave, leading to the Circuit Breaker.
- Even if Government listened to these NGOs on improving conditions in the migrant worker dormitories, the workers will still be eating together and working together. Therefore they will still get infected as it is very infectious.
- People are being misled into thinking that improving their condition would have helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 because people’s brains are lazy and want easy solutions.
- Part of it is also the Government’s fault. The Government didn’t offer us any reason for how and why the situation imploded in the dorm. Given the lack of an alternative, people just accept what is offered, hook, line and sinker.
- Assoc Prof Leong thinks it is despicable for these groups to try to use this crisis to advance their lobbying. “This is not the time. People also please don’t repeat stupid sh*t that you hear just because people say them. Use your brain to think about whether it makes sense”.
- Naturally, someone would think that the risk of the foreign worker dorms is manageable after the first incident was settled with military precision.
- Assoc Prof Leong hypothesised that the real root cause for the foreign dorm infections was the humongous number of asymptomatic cases.
- He wrote, “We (not apparent as to whom) always had this suspicion that there could be a small number of asymptomatic carriers. That the proportion could be up to 96(!)% was not apparent until after we had imposed the CB. By then, it was too late.”
- It was hard for this to be detected because there was a limited testing capacity. If you had to choose who to test, would you choose the ones who look sick or the ones who look perfectly normal.
The Associate Professor’s post was shared by Minister of Home and Affairs, K Shanmugam on his Facebook page, which the Minister praised his post as an “excellent post, exposing the drivel from some self-proclaimed geniuses, on how COVID-19 has been handled”.
It was also shared by the People’s Action Party on its Facebook page.