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19 Mar 2020  (793 Views) 
Covid-19 crisis

Maybe the covid-19 virus is already widespread
I wish to make an observation. I am aware that many people will disagree with me. Before they challenge me, I ask them to read my points carefully and consider them. I also ask them to verify the evidence for themselves. 

There is widespread fear about the corona virus. Many countries have decided to ban international travel and impose control over local movement and workplaces. They want to stop the spread of the virus.

The number of reported cases of infections and deaths continue to climb. Most people think - if we do not have containment measures, the infection will escalate and the deaths will climb to astronomical numbers. The number of deaths could reach 150 million worldwide. 

The fear and panic is based on the premise that the virus will cause a lot of harm, of catastrophic proportions, if it is allowed to spread.  This is the point that I want to dispute.

My observation is - the virus has already spread quite widely around the world. It was first discovered in Wuhan China 3 months ago. Before the city was locked down, there were many residents from Wuhan and other parts of China that had already traveled to many countries. 

The virus is highly contagious. It would have already spread to many people. 

I might add a further point that the virus could have already existed in some other countries before it was discovered in Wuhan. 

I now make a further point - many people are already infected with the virus, but somehow, for the majority, it did not become an issue. Only a small percentage will reach the stage of showing symptoms. These are the people that are being caught as being "infected".

If my thinking is correct, the widespread infection had already occurred. Most people have already been infected, but the virus did not cause any harm. They do not even reach the stage of being symptomatic.

I do not have any evidence to back up this line of thinking. I could be way off the mark. I could be wrong.

If I am wrong, we can expect to see a large exponential increase in the number of infected people and deaths. If the increase continue to be linear, I might be right.

On 18 March, 47 cases of residents returning to Singapore were diagnosed with the virus. They had traveled to Europe, America and elsewhere in Asia. This was reported to be the largest number of cases in this island nation of 6 million residents.

In my view, this suggests that the infection is already quite widespread in many countries. The virus has already had its field day around the world. There is no need to worry about massive escalation of the infection. It already did.

A country that does extreme border control (and this is now being adopted in most countries who want "to be safe") is working on the principle that the virus is under control in their country and it is the incoming travelers that will bring the virus to spread in their community.

In most cases, they are mistaken. It is their own residents that are more dangerous in spreading the virus that the incoming travelers. 

Let us take the case of Singapore. Suppose we send a team of people with the same equipment that is being used in our airports to a MRT station or market and scan all the people there. We are likely to find several people with fever and, after a swab test, are confirmed as having the virus. 

Maybe we should carry out this test to prove or disprove my theory. 

I support the measures that are being taken to contain the spread of the virus. They include hand washing, home quarantine, swab testing and social distancing. 

But I do not support the measures to ban international travel, to lock down workplaces and public transport or to be extremely fearful. I believe that we are over reacting to the fear of the potential apocalypse, that may not happen.

This extreme fear, which may be unjustified, has caused so much economic damage. It will be worse than the actual deaths caused by the virus.

As I said earlier, I might be wrong. But I do urge the people in charge to examine their assumptions, study the evidence and test my hypothesis using the scientific approach.

Tan Kin Lian

Vote - should we consider this theory?


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