High number of Omicron cases in Singapore indicates that the coronavirus wave due to the variant is likely to peak soon in the country, an infectious disease experts here has said. The daily cases of Omicron in the city-state have gone beyond 20,000 expected earlier to 20,312 new infections on Wednesday and 26,032 on Tuesday.
"I suspect the peak will be soon (if it wasn't yesterday!)," said Associate Professor Alex Cook, an expert in healthcare modelling at the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, on Wednesday. He expects the wave to peak within a fortnight, The Straits Times reported. Based on the experiences of other countries where the Omicron wave has already peaked, a sharp rise in cases usually foreshadows a fall in numbers, signalling the end of a Covid-19 wave, the report said. Cook, however, warned that there will be future waves, as happens with other endemic pathogens, as population immunity wanes and new variants emerge.
"For most (countries), the time from the initial upswing to the peak has been about two months, though it's not always obvious when the initial upswing was since the Omicron wave often emerged from a Delta wave," he said. Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, an infectious diseases expert at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, also said that the Omicron wave should be peaking soon, certainly within weeks. However, Hsu, who also helps out in the wards, says the strain on the healthcare system today comes because the country is still in transition between fearing the pandemic and accepting it as endemic.
As on Wednesday, Singapore has recorded a total of 642,605 Covid-19 cases. The death toll is 963, seven of which were reported on Wednesday. Based on reported genomes, Singapore's Omicron wave started in December last year, said Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, executive director at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Bioinformatics Institute, who has been tracking Covid-19 genomes globally. Although Omicron replaced the Delta variant in December, the big surge came only in January.
With PTI Inputs