2023 Week 15 Update

Today’s quote is from the venerable Dalai Lama. According to his holiness, happiness is not something readymade but comes from our actions. What this means is that happiness comes from within and only we can control your happiness. We decide to be happy or sad in our own life, body and mind. Outside factors and other people can affect our happiness, but we need to go through grief and sadness to appreciate the good things in life. To be happy in life, we need to show gratitude and appreciate everything we have, instead of complaining about what we do not have.

There has been a surge of COVID cases, both in Singapore and India. While we all know that the virus is here to stay and we are now in the endemic stage, this new surge is worrying. There is a new covid wave in Singapore, with the estimated number of daily infections rising from about 1,400 a month ago to 4,000 last week with about 30% being reinfections, higher than the 20 to 25% seen during the last wave. While the number of infections is climbing, there is no evidence that the current strains cause more severe illnesses. Hospitalisation of patients is also below what was seen during the last wave as was intensive care admissions.

Over in India, the country recorded 11,109 fresh cases on Friday. The daily covid cases are the highest in 236 days, according to data from the Union health ministry. This surge is driven by the new XBB.1.16 variant, dubbed Arcturus. The spread of the strain, first detected in late January, is worrying experts, as it seems to exhibit unique symptoms in children, one of which is conjunctivitis. The Arcturus XBB.1.16 variant is a recombinant of two sub-variants of BA.2, and a preprint study from scientists at the University of Tokyo suggested that it spreads about 1.17 to 1.27 times more efficiently than its relatives XBB.1 and XBB.1.5. It appears to be resistant to antibodies from other Covid variants, which has raised concerns about its potential to evade immunity gained from previous infections or vaccinations. The XBB.1.16 strain, a sub-variant of Omicron, has been classified as a variant of interest by the WHO.

So, if you haven’t already done so, please take steps to protect yourselves and your loved ones. Stay safe and see you next week!

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