Saturday, April 04, 2020

Deaths in US from corona virus

The deaths in the US from the coronavirus is not alarming. Let me explain my thinking.

I saw a report in CNBC that 1 million people tested for coronavirus in US and more than 200,000 have tested positive. The people tested were hospital workers and patients.

This means that over 20% of the population is already infected with the corona virus. If we extrapolate it to the entire population of 320 million, more than 64 million were already exposed to the virus.

WOTC - Lockdown in Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 52% of the respondents said that Singapore should implement a 14 day lockdown. 48% disagree.

Note - the government just decided to implement a one month lockdown.

WOTC - Projected deaths from corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that the corona virus will result in less than 500,000 deaths. 40% think it will be higher.

Note: I consider a death toll of 500,000 to be not alarming, compared to 3 million people that die each year from pneumonia. Most of the 500,000 would come from the 3 million.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Is it necessary to close all workplaces for one month?
2. Is the government adopting the right approach in dealing with the virus?

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What proportion of the population is already infected?

The government has decided to implement a lockdown in Singapore. All non-essential workplaces have to close for one month.

I guess that they have no choice. The new local infections has increased to an alarming number (about 50 cases a day). There is widespread panic among the people.

There is a belief that a lockdown will stop the spread of the corona virus. Many countries or cities are already adopting this approach. It seemed to be safer and wiser to follow them.

We should take advantage of the lockdown period to gather a vital piece of information - what proportion of the population is already infected with the virus?

Quora: Mike Pompeo accused China and Iran of hiding information related to the spreading of Coronavirus. Do you think that is true?

Answered by Thomas Pauken II, Reporter at Freelance Entrepeneur (2014-present)

BEIJING: Apparently, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has forgotten to look into the mirror when accusing another sovereign government of lying.

On April 15, 2019, he attended a forum at Texas A&M University in Bryant College Station, TX and was boasting about telling lies.

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole,” Pompeo was quoted as saying. “It was like – we had entire training courses.”

It’s strange to see the top diplomat for the United States make such comments in public, although he loves to berate Beijing calling them very dishonest.

Yet his comments contradict US President Donald J. Trump who has praised China’s Central Government over how they have handled the COVID-19 outbreak thus far.

Pompeo is arguing that China has published lower numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Chinese mainland for the past week, so he went ahead to assume Beijing has been under-reporting the numbers with malicious intent to harm the United States.

Besides, the WHO (World Health Organization) has closely monitored Beijing’s response to coronavirus while the agency’s director general, Dr. Tedros AdhanomGhebreyesus has also complimented China’s heroic efforts to respond to coronavirus.

The WHO is a neutral agency that does not play favorites with any country. Pompeo appears to be accusing the WHO of allegedly conspiring with Beijing to under-report confirmed COVID-19 cases in China.

The WHO would not gain any benefits from taking such unethical actions and they would lose their reputation for honesty and integrity if sovereign governments believe they are corrupt.

We should also take note the WHO receives much of its funding from the United Nations, sovereign governments and wealthy donors.

Washington provides a substantial amount of funding to the WHO and it’s not in their best interest to play silly games with the US federal government.

Pompeo could be feeling jealous that President Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence as Chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. But it’s understandable why he was not appointed.

The majority of coronavirus cases had come from Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province. President Trump understands that he should improve communication lines with Beijing.

China can play a crucial role to help Washington search for a new vaccine and to improve treatment methods for infected patients in the US. Pompeo’s constant criticisms against China would make him unqualified to join the Coronavirus Task Force.

We can read more about how China wishes to help the world to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s an article from Xinhua. The link is here:

As reported by Xinhua:

“In the face of the challenges posed by the spread of the disease overseas, China will enhance international cooperation, noted the meeting, adding that implementing epidemic prevention measures at borders is conducive to the orderly and safe flow of people between countries.

Inbound travelers who are confirmed or suspected of being infected with the virus or are close contacts will be checked, treated and quarantined according to relevant rules, said the meeting, noting the particular importance for ports with high numbers of entries and exits such as Beijing to work meticulously on epidemic prevention.

China will also work with relevant countries to suspend or reduce the two-way flow of personnel such as students studying abroad. Guidance and assistance will be provided to Chinese citizens in other countries.”

Pompeo should learn more about the art of diplomacy. The COVID-19 outbreak could strike the US with a vengeance and Chinese Central government stands willing to lend them a helping hand.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Get ready to fund small businesses

This CNBC video showed the problem faced by America in introducing a business loan funding program. Watch video.

Some of the problems highlighted are:

a) Excessive demand leading to the website crashing
b) Complicated forms that need to be simplified
c) Coordination between the federal govt and its agency and the lending banks.

Singapore will have to introduce a similar program in the near future. It is best to get our platform ready.

Here are my suggestions to avoid a similar hiccup.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Practical measures adopted in Turkey

I saw a video of the measures taken in Italy to provide hand sanitizers and sanitizing stations for the public to use at public locations. View video.

I was impressed with it. I like their approach where the government provides the facilities to help the public to combat the corona virus.

I contrast it with the approach adopted in Singapore where the government expect employers and businesses to implement social distancing, temperature recording and recording of contact tracing details.

These measures are not as effective as the sanitizing facilities provided by the Turkey government.

I am worried about the stop work order that is being issued by the ministry of manpower for workplaces that do not allow their workers to telecommute. MOM officials may not understand that these telecommuting measures may be difficult to monitor.

I expect the measures adopted in Turkey to be less disruptive to businesses and the workers. They are also likely to be more effective in combating the spread of the virus.

Why do we need a complicated Medisave deduction form?

This is the Medisave deduction form. It is a complicated form that require a lot of details to be provided.

The CPF member has to sign this complicated form to authorize deduction from his Medisave account. This form has been used for several decades.

Let us cut out the unproductive work.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Why is the Spanish flu given this name when it started in Kansas, USA?

2. How should the government control food prices during the pandemic?

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WOTC - Timing of general election

Wisdom of the Crowd: 94% of the respondents do not like the government to call a general election in the midst of the corona virus epidemic.

WOTC - Stop the spread of the virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 43% of the respondents said the best way to stop the spread of the virus is to ban travel inside and outside the country. 29% want to provide free testing. 18% want everybody to wear a face mask.

Complicated criteria used for SIRS

Someone created a song - ask MP, why SIRS not for me?

I checked this acronym (you know, PAP likes to create acronym for every new scheme) and found that it is "self employed income relief scheme).

To qualify for SIRS, you have to meet many criteria. Sure, that is PAP's approach. Everything must be convoluted.

I read also that the Ministry of Manpower will consider appeal from people who don't quality for SIRS and face hardship.

Well - that is PAP's approach. Set up a convoluted scheme, allow appeal, must ask MP, etc.

What is an alternative approach?

I will ask people who need the assistance to get a loan, but they must pay back with interest, pegged at the rate of inflation. That's it.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Was it advisable for the govt to help Singapore Airlines
2. What are your views about the corona virus impact on America.
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WOTC - Travel ban by Malaysia

Wisdom of the Crowd: 69% of the respondents said that it was necessary for Malaysia to impose a ban on international Travel

WOTC - Corona virus will be a long term problem

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of participants expect the corona virus to be a problem for a long time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Take the appropriate measures according to the circumstance

Most people think that the lockdown and social distancing is the best way to slow down the spread of the corona virus.

Sweden is more relaxed about it. They do not adopt these extreme measures.

Is Sweden right? Do they have to change their strategy? We will wait and see.

The lesson is - do not adopt extreme measures until they become really necessary. These measures cause other problems, which could be worse than the disease itself.

The UK was somewhat relaxed at first. When they saw the spread, the govt panicked and imposed a lockdown.

But they also took other measures, such as getting volunteers to help the elderly and increase added 4,000 beds in a temporary hospital to cope with the increase case load.

I expect the UK to relax its lockdown soon, when the other measures are in place. Let us see.

Monday, March 30, 2020

How serious is the pandemic?

The World Health Organization website reported 33,982 deaths out of 722,464 infected people, giving a mortality rate of 4.7%.

On its own, the deaths of 33,982 is not alarming. Each year, 3 million people die from pneumonia caused by all kinds of germs. Most of the deaths from the corona virus are related to pneumonia.

What the people and governments are worried about is that the deaths will increase many fold, maybe 100 or 1,000 times. If it is 1,000 times, we are looking at 33 million deaths.

A loan is better than a handout

I prefer the government to give a soft loan to businesses and individuals to cope with the economic downturn, rather than give a cash handout.

Here are my reasons:

Address the longer term challenges

I welcome the second stimulus package of $24 billion. It is larger than most people expect.

This package is helpful to businesses and households to tide over the immediate future.

I expect a significant part of it to be wasted and abused. I would have preferred the money to be used in a better way. However, I do not wish to quarrel over this point.

Should the govt help businesses?

Dear Mr Tan,

I’ve read that some SME bosses are asking the government to do more. I’ve also read some people object to this request, saying that in good times when the company makes money, the bosses enjoy, but when problems come they ask the government. So the government should not help.

My reply is given here:

Win these financial planning books

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Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is a good way to help people who suffered loss of income

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WOTC - Self driving buses

Wisdom of the Crowd: 59% of the respondents are in favor of using self driving buses with conductors.

WOTC - Deaths from corona virus

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that the corona virus will cost less than 1 million deaths globally. 16% think it will be more.

Give a soft loan instead

During an economic downturn, it is difficult to decide on who should or should not get financial assistance from the government.

The government is reluctant to give money to people who can cope, so there have to draw a line somewhere to determine who are poor and need assistance, and who can do without assistance.

Wherever the line is drawn, there will be people on the margin that are left out. They will be unhappy.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Social distancing in public transport

Dear Kin Lian

With the safe distance measure being put in place , not only staff from the shopping mall being activated to help out, but also police officer to assist in crowd control management like assist in people queuing or either taking their temperature but with precaution taken ?

Should MRT and Bus queuing also have the 1m social distance

How serious can the pandemic be?

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, there were 30,879 deaths out of 663,740 infections around the world as at 29 March 2020. This implied a mortality rate of 4.6%.

Some people calculated that is the entire global population of 7.8 billion people become infected, the total deaths would be 351 million. If half of the population became infected, 175 million people would die.

WOTC - Where did the corona virus originate?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 37% of the respondents said that the corona virus was prevalent in the US before it was discovered in China. 32% said that it originated in Wuhan.

WOTC - Best way to use Tap Card

Wisdom of the Crowd: 47% of the respondents said that it is best to use the transit card as the tap card. 41% prefered to use the mobile phone.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should schools be closed now to stop the spread of the corona virus?
2. What cause the big loss suffered by Singapore Airlines?

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Quora: Why didn't China setup medical tents?

Why didn't China set up medical tents instead of constructing the new hospitals for the Coronavirus? Even if the new hospitals were constructed quickly, the lag time early in the outbreak made the situation worse.

Answered by: Jean-Luc Liu, MSc Power Systems, Colleges and Universities (2022)

I actually asked a government official in Wuhan who works on repurposing public facilities into temporary hospitals the same question. He told me that while it is easy to set up tents, setting up sufficient waste processing capacity for the field hospital is much harder. If unprocessed waste from hospital goes into the Yangtze river by accident, all Chinese cities between Wuhan and Shanghai would have to be placed under quarantine. That is why the government rather set up temporary hospitals in the exhibition center (where 1000 patients have to share a bathroom) than planting tents in riverside parks.

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