Singapore—Ho Ching, Temasek’s CEO and wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, took to Facebook on Wednesday (Oct 28) to warn everyone, especially young people, to be vigilant over the next six months as Europe, the United States and other countries are experiencing second waves of Covid-19 infections.

“Even countries with low rates in 1st half of the year, are now seeing big surges.

Holland has run out of hospital beds, and is asking Germany to help take some hospitalised patients,” Madam Ho added.

She pointed to “young people in their 20s and 30s” as “one main driver” in the surge of infections, the majority of whom are asymptomatic or only get slightly ill, calling them the “walking well”.

These young people “are very mobile physically and socially before and just after their symptoms begin to show” she added, noting that “this is also when they are most infectious.”

Therefore, continued vigilance over the next half-year is in order, since it takes “3 or 4 generations of infections” before one person needs medical help, which means a cluster can lie undetected in a community and then suddenly erupt in numerous cases across the general population “8-12 weeks later.”

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Safety measures must continue to be observed “like wearing masks, working from home wherever possible, hand washing, reduced numbers eating together, etc.

These measures could slow the rate of transmission or reduce the severity of the illness when the invading viral load is smaller,” wrote Madam Ho in her post, which has been shared over 1,500 times.

And even if very few young people fall gravely ill with Covid-19, they need to be aware that people who recover from the illness may yet suffer from long-term effects.

“But what we are starting to see are recovered patients, some with mild illness, being hit by long term health problems like diabetes, heart, brain, lungs, and other vital organ dysfunction.

Recovered patients can become diabetic even when they do not have diabetes before Covid.

Others suffer sudden heart failure or stroke, within weeks of recovery. They die or become disabled by such health problems.

Others suffer foggy brain.

So survival is not the only goal.”

She encouraged the youth to consider the possibility of the serious long-term effects of Covid-19 and to not take the disease lightly even though the fatality rate is very low among the youth.

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It’s a good thing, Mdm Ho added, that Singapore now has better and faster tools in detecting infectious cases, which will help avoid widespread infections.

She further encouraged everyone to not be complacent but to get prepared now, and not wait until the country has a bigger number of cases.

“Let’s not tire now when the storm is raging all around us, threatening to peak in the weeks and months to come, and we must re-open and stay open for business, jobs, and livelihoods.

We must prepare our dikes properly, both at our borders and within our community.

All hands on deck, folks.

Take a break and recharge if we must, but we must be mentally and physically be ready for a marathon into 2021.”

In an addition to her post, the Temasek CEO wrote that days 7 to 11 after a patient starts showing symptoms is the “dangerous turning point” and “a fork in the road,” when their immune systems overreacts to the infection, returning to her point that “even young folks with mild symptoms should not take Covid lightly.” —/TISG

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Ho Ching remains Temasek CEO nearly a decade after failed leadership succession plans