There have been rumours circulating via WhatsApp that Singapore is having a rapid and large increase in cases with severe illness and deaths due to the circulating XBB strain. This is not true. We are initiating POFMA action against such falsehoods.
While there is an increase in local cases driven by XBB, including the post-weekend spike this Tuesday, the number of severe cases has remained relatively low. This is very likely due to the resilience built up through vaccination and previous waves of infection. We are monitoring the trajectory closely.
More importantly, there is also no evidence of XBB causing more severe illness. So far, the large majority of patients continue to report mild symptoms such as sore throat or slight fever, especially if they have been vaccinated.
As of 11 October 2022, we have 11 ICU cases and 50 who need oxygen supplementation, just slightly higher than the level observed in the past few months. In comparison, at the peaks of the previous Delta and Omicron waves, these numbers were 171 (ICU) and 308 (oxygen supplementation), and 54 (ICU) and 242 (oxygen supplementation) respectively.
The increase in hospitalised cases is in line with the overall increase in cases. There are currently 490 hospitalised cases compared to 1,600 at the peak of the Delta wave and about 800 at the peak of the Omicron wave.
However, our hospitals’ Emergency Departments (ED) continue to be very busy, we encourage members of the public not to rush to the ED unless they are experiencing an emergency medical condition. Patients who walk into EDs with non-emergency conditions, including children, will be diverted to other urgent care clinics or primary care clinics for further assessment, so as to prioritise ED resources for patients who need the medical care.