Saturday, April 25, 2020

Carry out a random test on the population

It is important for the government to carry out a random test to estimate the proportion of the population that has already been infected by the covid virus.

This will help them to make better decision on how to deal with the virus. They should avoid extreme measures that may be unnecessary and are so costly to the economy and to the livelihood of several hundred thousand families.

A better way to capture contact tracing detail

China has introduced an app for contract tracing. The public has to use a mobile phone and scan a QR code. The app will show the color code and identify if the person is okay or need to be tested.

It is a good approach.

I have already developed a better approach. Instead of the public using a mobile phone (and some elderly people or children do not carry a mobile phone), they can use a QR code that is pasted to a transit card and use it for contact tracing.

As an alternative, a new transit card can be issued with the QR code already embedded. The public does not need to go through a separate process of pasting the QR code.

The checker will use a mobile phone to read the QR code. It works like the app in China but works in reverse.

I have prepared this video to show how my system works. I hope that the people in charge in Singapore can accept this idea. We can have a solution that is as good, actually better, than China.

Give your vote here:

Perhaps 7% of people in Singapore already got the virus

New York state carried out a random test and found 13.9% of the population already infected. The rate is 21.2% in New York City.

If a random test is carried out in Singapore, I expect to see a rate of 7% (one third of New York City). This means that 400,000 people in Singapore would have already been infected.

I estimate a lower rate in Singapore, compared to New York City, because of our warm climate. The WHO statistics showed that 12% of the people who have been tested are found to be positive. The testing was carried out mainly with the foreign workers and the people who have been in contact or with symptoms.

The government now reports very low new cases in the community. This is likely to be grossly understated. We are seeing a very low number because so few people are being tested.

Even though more people are likely to have been infected in Singapore, we do not need to panic. The death rate from the virus is quite low in Singapore. Very few people need ICU treatment.

We only need to worry when these numbers spite up many fold. So far, they have remain stable.

It is important for Singapore to carry out a random test now. The actual data will guide the policy makers to make better decisions on how to deal with the virus.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the biggest mistake made by the ministerial task force?

2. Will the increase in infection lead to many deaths in Singapore?

Vote in

WOTC - Use of data for contact tracing

Wisdom of the Crowd: 67% of the respondents support the use of mobile phone location data for contact tracing. 33% worry that it is invasion of privacy.

WOTC - Accommodation for foreign workers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 38% of the respondents said that we should reduce our reliance on foreign workers. 62% said that we should provide better accommodation for them.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Focus on useful activities to combat the covid-19 virus

I visited Greenwich V mall. I had to queue up before entering the mall. The security officer took the temperature of the shoppers. I recorded 35 C. I asked the officer to retake the temperature. It still record 35 C. I told her that I was just taken out of the fridge. 

It is clear that the temperature gun is not working properly. But the security officer does not know.

I had to record my name and contact number. The recording of this contact tracing details was what caused the delay in the queue.

I wonder how the contact tracing detail can be used. If an infected person visit the mall, will all the shoppers who visited the mall on the same day be traced?

I think that this is a waste of time. But we are doing it all the place, perhaps in a few thousand malls and offices. We have been doing it for several months.

Does the ministerial task force pay attention to this matter? Do they realize that they are distracting people from the real risks of spreading the disease, with the useless activities?

I prefer that the security officer spend the time to show people how they can use the sanitizers and help them check their face masks.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Death rate from covid-19 in Sweden

Some people said that Sweden did not impose a lockdown and that has led to a high death rate from covid-19.

I want to share the following facts.

Quora: Ask China to pay compensation for covid-19 losses

Yes,Trump should do that,why not?
But wait a minute, all of sudden I thought of some other countries. Vietnam might request America to pay 1000 billions of dollars for the lives Americans killed in Vietnam War. North Korea would increase that price tag to $10,000 billions. What about U.S. invasion of Iraq without finding Saddam’s MDW ? How many billions of dollars U.S. should pay to 151,000 people killed there ?
Cuba ,Venezuela and Iran would demand the U.S. to pay compensation for the huge loss caused by U.S. sanctions and embargo.
Hundreds of thousands of victims of 2009 H1N1 deadly flu might request for their compensation….,on and on ,never ending.

Covid-19 infection rate in the community

What is the infection rate of covid-19 in the community.

The WHO statistics showed that 94,796 tests were carried out in Singapore and 10,141 (10.7%) were found to be infected.

Evil or stupid?

My friend made this observation.

He said. The ministers know that the corona virus is not lethal. But they ordered and extended the circuit breaker to scare the people that the virus is spreading fast and they are doing something to stop it.

They know that the new cases will drop by end of May, when they complete the testing of the foreign workers.

They will then announce that their circuit breaker had worked and the gullible people will be grateful for their excellent stewardship. Then they will call the general election - as the crisis is over.

TKL said - But they would have damaged the livelihood of a few hundred thousand people. It will take a long term for the damage to be repaired.

If this is the case, that the ministers had done an evil thing. I hope that the people will not be fooled by this deception.

So, the ministers are either evil or stupid. Which one?

Worrying about the unknown

Many people are worried about the covid-19 virus. They worry about the mutation of the virus. They worry about how long the virus can spread with people that have or do not have symptoms. They worry about the reinfection of the people who have been cured.

I ask them to look beyond the unknowns and focus on what is known and staring us in the eye.

WOTC - Circuit breaker measures

Wisdom of the Crowd: 83% of the respondents said that the circuit breaker measures were necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

WOTC - Relief measures

Wisdom of the Crowd: 89% of the respondents said that the three relief packages will be largely wasted and will not take care of the long term challenges facing the people.

I put up several posts every day in my Facebook page, which are not repeated in my Blog.

You can go to that page and Like it.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Was it wise to extend the circuit breaker measures?
2. Was the virus well contained?
Vote in

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Testing for the covid-19 virus

Somebody asked the questions - why does it take so long to test the foreign workers? Why can't we test the locals also? Why do we restrict the testing to only people with symptoms? Can we test everybody?

Difficult to read the MOH website

I had a lot of trouble to search the MOH website for statistics on the covid-19 cases.

I finally arrived at this webpage

It was a confusing page. It provided links to the following:
a) situation report
b) Interactive situation report

The first link lead to another page that contains the daily report in PDF. I am not able to download or view the PDF.

The second link took a long time to load and presents graphs that are hard to follow.

It would be more useful if MOH would just give the tables in Excel or PDF that can be easily displayed or downloaded.

They should just follow what is done in the WHO website.

I cannot understand why MOH has to make life so difficult for the public.

Take initiative according to the situation

I watched the performance of Phantom of the Opera on YouTube.
There was a segment that is relevant to Singapore and I like to share the moral of the incident.

Elderly woman insist on eating at the hawker center

Someone shared a video about an elderly woman who insisted on eating at the table in the hawker center. The enforcement officer asked her to eat at home, but she refused. She shouted "You can fine me. I don't care".

Most people think that the woman was acting in an irresponsible manner. She refused to comply with the law and with the request of the enforcement officer.

I share a different perspective.

Rationale of contact tracing

Contact tracing is effective when the number of infected persons is low, say less than say 500. It is possible to trace all the people who have been in contact with the infected person and ask them to go for testing or isolation.

It is difficult to carry out contact tracing when there is a large number of infected people in the community. Any new case could be infected by any of the previously infected person. It will be difficult to trace the source of contact. It might even give misleading results - for example X is thought to be infected by Y when he was actually infected by Z.

During the past few weeks, we read about several tens of new cases which could not be traced.  The cumulative total of untraced cases is not reported, but is estimated to number a few hundreds.

I think that it is time to abandon the contact tracing efforts, as it takes a lot of resources and do not provide any useful outcome.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Quora: President Trump tweeted that 17,000 people died from Swine Flu under Obama. How does this compare to his Coronavirus numbers?

Someone replied:

First, the swine flu did not kill 17,000 people, as Trump maintained in his tweet. Nor did it kill 14,000, the figure he cited days earlier. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that H1N1 killed about 12,500 Americans between April 2009 and 2010, far fewer people than typically die each year from the flu. (Trump has gotten this figure right on other occasions.)

Second, the president’s characterization of the government’s response does not match reality. If anything, the response to H1N1 was swift in comparison to the current administration’s handling of the coronavirus.

“I assume what he’s trying to say is somehow he’s doing a much better job,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services under Obama, said in an interview Wednesday. “I just find that totally baffling. Anybody who looks at the comparisons very quickly understands that this is not the case.”

WOTC - Re-use face mask

Wisdom of the Crowd: 76% of the respondents said that it is safe to re-use a face mask subject to proper cleaning. 24% disagreed.

WOTC - Factory to make face mask

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that Singapore should open our own factory to make face masks.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Did the government make the right judgment to call the circuit breaker?
2. What should the government do with the large infection of workers in dormitories?
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Do not falsely claim the support of others

I hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the covid-19 crisis.

One participant said, something along this line - I, like the rest of you, do not trust the figures from China.

I send to him an email the following day. I said - I wish to be excluded from your statement. I do not share the same view as you, or other people, on this matter.

Lesson: It is a common practice, and a bad one, for a person to claim that he represents the views of other people, when he does not.

A person should stand on his own views, and not claim support from other people, which are not justified.

Bad judgment by ministerial task force

The ministerial task force made a bad judgment. In early April, they panicked and decided to introduce the circuit breaker. They closed down most workplaces (except for the essential ones), food outlets and schools and ordered the people to stay at home for four weeks.

Why was this a bad judgment?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Carry out the covid test for all healthcare workers

I suggest that our health care workers should be given the covid-19 test. This is to protect their health and also the health of the patients.

In America, these workers were given priority for the covid tests, even though they were not symptomatic. All health care workers were tested.

I also suggest that the results of the tests should be published. We need to know how many workers were tested, how many were found to be infected and asymptomatic, and how many were symptomatic.

This results may give an indication of the actual spread of the virus in the general population. We can assume that the health care workers is a representative sample of the population.

With this data and results, we will be able to make better decisions on future containment measures.

Ministerial task force - I hope that you are listening.

Lesson from New York

New York City is the epicenter of the covid-19 crisis in America. It had many cases and many deaths. The projections by the disease experts were dire. New York needs to have more treatment capacity. They need a thousand ventilators, maybe more.

A major project was undertaken to convert Javits Center in New York City, which was normally a convention center, into a treatment center with 1,700 beds.

The report below said that only 44 beds were used. The rest was left empty. It seemed that the projection was wrong.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should Temasek Holdings publish the salaries of its top executives?
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WOTC - Are medicated products from China defective?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 80% of the respondents said that some of the medical products from China are defective for acceptable reasons, but the media played up this issue. 20% said that the quality is generally poor.

WOTC - Competent and dedicated ministers

Wisdom of the Crowd: 14% of the respondents said that we have capable and dedicated ministers in Singapore. 86% disagreee.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Should the circuit breaker be extended beyond 4 May?
2. Why is the death rate in Singapore so much lower than America and Europe?

Vote in

WOTC - How to deal with a shortage of ventilators

Wisdom of the Crowd: 68% of the respondents preferred to set a limit on the number of days that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to make them available to new patients, in case of a shortage of ventilators.

WOTC - Is the government adopting the right approach?

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that the government is adopting the wrong approach in dealing with the covid-19 crisis.

Should the circuit breaker be extended beyond 4 May?

In taking this decision, I suggest that the ministerial task force look at the new cases from the community only, and exclude the new cases from the worker dormitories.

The infected workers from the dormitories have been identified by comprehensive testing and were sent to hospital wards or isolation facilities. This would have prevented their infecting the wider community.

Currently, the new cases from the community number about 30 a day. It is a small number. It has been kept at a steady level. It is not increasing at an alarming rate.

Furthermore, from the experience of the dormitories, most of the infected cases were mild.

If the task force wish to extend the circuit breaker for a further period, they have to be mindful of the cost to the government and the additional cost to the businesses and households.

Based on the information available to me, I cannot see how they can justify making any decision to extend the circuit breaker. It would be folly.

However, if they are worried about an increase in severe cases, they should prepare for more hospital beds, ventilators and health care workers to be available. They should also employ specially screened care givers to take care of the elderly sick in nursing homes and those living alone.

The additional cost to expand the medical and care facilities is miniscule, compared to the cost of extending the circuit breaker.

I hope that the ministerial task force comes out with a sensible decision.

MOH now explains the increase in new cases is due to more testing

For the last few days, I have been saying - don't worry about the big increase in new cases. It is due to large scale testing of the foreign workers living in the dormitories. It is the result of the protocol that required all contacts to be traced and tested.

I also said - if the task force is carrying out more testing recently compared to the past, they should make a statement about it. It is a relevant fact for people to understand the large increase in new cases. They should not hide this relevant fact.

Well, the report today, sent by Gov.SG, said that the increase in new cases is due to more tests being carried out. It also suggested that the new cases will drop when the tests are completed.

Guess where they learn about this fact? Someone must be monitoring my post, right? They probably told the ministers about it.

Why did our highly qualified and highly paid ministers in the task force not aware about this common sense fact earlier on? Why do they panic, and call the circuit breaker, when they learned about the increase in new cases?

The circuit breaker is probably not necessary. It probably cost the economy $10 billion in losses - $4 billion from the government relief measures and (my guess) $6 billion in losses suffered by businesses and households.

Stay home and be safe

I have seen this statement on many occasions - stay home and be safe.

This may be a bad idea. Why?

Rhetoric and nonsense cannot justify bad decisions

Here is one nonsensical statement that some people throw at me - Mr. Tan, what is more important, money or lives?

This is my answer. We are probably spending $10 billion ($4 billion from the government stimulus measures and $6 billion from losses suffered by businesses and households), to save lives.

Nobody made any estimate about how many lives we would save by spending the $10 billion.

It cannot be that many, because so far, only 11 people have died from covid and another 23 are in ICU and some may die also.

The irony is - after spending (rather wasting) $10 billion, we will not be saving that many lives.

Rhetoric and nonsense cannot be used to justify wasting money that can be used to alleviate poverty and hunger in Singapore or in reducing the stress from the high cost of living in Singapore. These "diseases" kill more people than covid.

Need for Singapore organizations to improve their customer service

I have been worried about the appalling state of customer service in government agencies and big businesses in Singapore. I have provided many feedback over the years, but their top management does not bother. Nobody bothers.

I want to share a positive experience with a company from China. It is OPPO, which is the manufacturer of the mobile phone that I use.

Read here.

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