Socio-Political activist Gilbert Goh shared a forwarded Whatsapp message on Facebook that he had received yesterday (Feb 14) which stated that the DBS employee who was reported to have caught the COVID-19 infection could potentially become a super spreader.
The message reads that the employee had been seen in the office daily, coughing and sneezing throughout the Chinese New Year period without a mask on. It also states that he had attended meetings and met up with fellow bankers and customers over meals in addition to overlooking some 30 interns. Someone may have noticed this and decided to spread it over a Whatspp message. Mr Goh said that the story could not be verified. He also brought up the importance of masking up and seeing a doctor if sick while offering financial aid of up to S$50 to those who needed to see a doctor but could not afford it.
The term super spreader means someone who spreads a virus more effectively then an average person. The factors vary across cases but the common reasons are if someone takes a longer time to recover allowing him to spread the infection more or infecting more people by being in heavily populated areas over long periods of time.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the meaning of super spreader might have to be revised for this virus. He used SARS and H1N1 as examples stating that with a cluster for SARS, it would be more likely to point to a super spreader. However, as H1N1, like the flu, is more easily transmitted, it would be more common to see larger clusters without there being a super spreader. He said this may be the case for COVID-19 as it is turning out to be like H1N1.
When DBS received the news on Wednesday (12 Feb) morning that one of their employees had been tested the day before and his infection been confirmed, they chose to evacuate 300 staff from the 43rd floor of the Marina Bay Financial Tower 3 as a precautionary measure. The staff were asked to work from home while the affected areas underwent a disinfection and deep cleaning.
Many netizens reacted to Mr Goh’s facebook post criticizing the DBS employee for his alleged irresponsibility.
Some netizens were quick to point out the big flaw in the message however. The level affected was the 43rd not the 42nd. One of them questioned the authenticity of the message by suggesting an employee of that stature would not have 30 interns under him.
Another netizen lamented the lack of coughing etiquette present in Singapore while another went on to say he may have been coughing for other reasons.
The majority of the comments on Mr Goh’s post were negative reactions towards the DBS employee. They should take note however that this has not been verified. It should be noted that no new infections have been linked to the DBS employee as of yet.
Gilbert Goh’s Facebook post can be seen below.
Just received this…stay safe fellow Singaporeans. The story could not be verified though.If sick, please mask up and…