Covid19 - Exaggeration or underestimation of risks

At the time of writing, there were more than 70,500 confirmed cases and over 1,700 deaths globally. Yet, these numbers are a far cry from the H1N1 epidemic which saw more than 760 million cases and over 284,000 deaths between 2009 and 2010.

Even the common flu causes as many as 5 million cases of severe illnesses and half a million deaths in a typical year of seasonal outbreaks in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The case-fatality rate of the COVID-19 appears to be about 2 per cent of all cases, and lower for cases outside of China,which is lower than that of the SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2003 of almost 10 per cent.
Compared to these numbers, the COVID-19 should not be a cause for panic. Yet, the reaction to mainstream media reporting on the virus seems disproportionate....

This heightened public concern in the case of the COVID-19 may seem baffling given its relatively low number of fatalities compared to other viruses. But risk psychologists argue that this reaction is, in fact, expected because individuals’ risk perception tends to be guided by cognitive short-cuts such as the “memorability heuristic”.... CNA

The above is from an article in the CNA on a report by researchers from the NUS-Lloyd’s Registration Foundation Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk (IPUR). It it timely to educate the public on the power of the media and the power of certain people or parties that have different agenda to hype about this Covid19 epidemic.  Is the risk of the Covid19 exaggerated in this case?

By now we have reasonable data to show how serious this Covid19 is compares to H1N1 and SARS. The situation in South Korea seems out of control. Italy and Japan are two candidates, including Iran that may be the next centre of Covid19 explosion. We are lucky and well managed to contain our spread. We have two days of only 1 new case and a day of 2, excluding an imported case from Wuha. Yesterday we have 0 case.

At this point we may breath a sigh of relief that it is not that serious after all in Singapore, or it is, or could it be worse? Many may have taken for granted that the spread is being contained but forgotten that had China not locked down a few major cities, the spread could be horrendous given what we have seen earlier. The immediate locked down of Wuhan and a few Chinese cities have arrested the spread and kept a lid on this epidemic and today we may gloat that it is not that serious. What if China has not locked down its cities, how widespread would this Covid19 be? A few hundred million infected cases?

On the other hand the Americans have been crying hell and screaming about how dangerous this covid19 is and still blaming China for all sorts of stupid reasons and allegations. They took the lead to ban Chinese citizens from entering America and cancelling many flights, in a way cutting off people travelling between the two states. A few western countries like Australia quickly followed suit. Over reaction, over exaggeration? Did the Americans know something that the world did not, that this Covid19 is not just like a common cold and could be like H1N1 and spread around the world like H1N1, infecting millions of people and causing more deaths that what we are seeing today? Trump is furious for the return of infected Americans on cruise ships. Why?

With two sides of the coins in our face, have we over exaggerated or underestimated this Covid19 virus? Would the govt think that hey, this is not really a problem, can be easily handled and we can still go about increasing our population to 6.9m, to 10m, to 20m? Singapore has no fear of a virus or disease epidemic, we can control and manage them and we can have our cake and eat it too?

The initial contact of this virus were in the churches, a shop and a hotel. What if the initial contact was in a jam pack train? What would the scenario be like? How would the contact tracing effort be like to trace people from a moving train?  Would the seriousness of this epidemic be underestimated and all caution thrown to the wind and the govt continues to press on with its open leg immigration policy to increase the population by another few millions? Can Singapore risk an epidemic of this nature and survive or be totally wiped out in a matter of months?

Lets hope our super talented millionaire ministers would take a step back and think carefully about such an epidemic and do not underestimate the risks involved and our survival as a congested city state of 6.9m or 10m or 20m.


Virgo 49 said...

Aiyo, last time SARs, they had patted their own backs for doing excellent work.

That's why they can have the White Paper for 6.9M and later 10M.

No problem lah..if this COVID-19 also goes without any hitch.

Then 10M here they come..

But you cannnot be so lucky every time. One Square Metre of 1000 rats.

NOT one square metre of just two human beans.

The Americunts surely wants to exaggerate this Outbreak as they are the Culprits and wants to blow matter out of proportion.

To destroy the PRCs and to tank all Asian Economies.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

No, the "victory" in this case will not be determined by ministers or any other politician, or any "money-for-nothing" freeloading employee of any govt.

This issue will be determined soley by SCIENCE and the people who do the hard science and computation of the DATA.

And it is still "early days". Everytime they think they're closer to solving the complex puzzle, a brand new CLUSTER of infections emerges.

This week I introduce my Stage 2 protocols. The first step is being vaccinated against as many strains to pnuemonia that I can get vaccines for. This is not 100% protection of course, but it could REDUCE the chances of getting pneumonia and DYING, if I contract Covid19 or any other issue which shutsdown the immune system.

ALL OF US have pneumonia-causing pathogens in our lungs. The pathogens are everywhere...in the air etc. That's just a FACT that there are trillion up trillions tiny things which can kill us sharing the same planet.

If our immune systems are working normally, they pose no problem. But even something like the common cold virus can get to the point where it "locks out" the body's defenses to pneumonia, and then the patient gets pneumonia as a SECONDARY INFECTION. If left untreated with heavy doese of IV antibiotics, death is imminent. and it happens REALLY QUICKLY. Pneumonia can cause ORGAN FAILURE as well.

So IMO, if you're over 50, healthwise "not so happening", and worse if you SMOKE, get vaccinated ASAP!

Dun pray pray.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ memorability heuristic

Ah, heuristics (cognitive biases), my favourite topic.

Yes, the risk psychologists certainly make a valid point. The memorability heuristic is a close cousin to "anchoring bias" and "recency bias".

anchoring is when you "lock" your baseline to some piece of info. This is used very effectively by salespeople all the time. e.g.: they inflate the price of something---say a $15,000 car, they'll place a (say) $20k sticker on it, so you now have "$20k is the cost of this car" in your brain. Then the bargaining starts, and you manage to get the price to $16k, seal the deal and walk away congratulating yourself on being such a "tough negotiator".

Recency bias is when you evaluate new information based on current info still "fresh" in your mind. Memorability bias happens because you "recall SIGNIFICANT PAST EVENTS" and bring them into the present to evaluate what is presently happening.

WE're all human and thus not immune to any of the cognitive biases---including scientists who are also human.

That is why we need CLEAN or CLEANED RAW DATA before we can even begin to make sense of what is going on, bearing in mind that even with clean data, you can make ERRORS in computation.

Since all answers based on data crunching and statistical methods are expressions of probability, nothing is "definite" or "for certain". For e.g.: Just because a probability states say 1 in 3 (0.33) people will get cancer at some point, doesn't mean you will or will not get cancer. It is all left up to chance or luck, and at the end of the day chance, luck and uncertainty has the final say on what happens to us and to the whole universe

Another e.g. easily related to: You do "everything right", eat properly, exercise, perform your job diligently, are a terrific family person and loyal friend...the all-time "super successful nice person". And then one day whilst just chilling in a cafe, a rogue bus rams in and kills you. Bad luck. Preventable? No, not at all possible.

Cognitive biases are inescapable for every human brain. That's why we have "tools" like critical thinking, the scientific method and statistical analysis...various tools which specifically take into account our quirky brains' propensity to FOOL ITSELF

If you've ever lost a shitload of money in the markets (like me), that pain ought to make you a keen student of heuristics...which are great for the day-to-day, but HORRIBLE for evaluating new incoming data.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

All of you here read the above post by Matilah and compares this to his wild allegations against China and Kim Jung Un and see the difference in the intent and personality behind them.

One is thoughtful and serious, the other is idiotic, unthinking and just screaming lies.

This is enough to tell that there is something very fishy in this character called Matilah, what he is and who he is and his intent in making those posts.

This is not just Jekyll and Hyde, the accusation by many that he is a paid American agent to post wild allegations is not far from the truth.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ RB

Wah uncle...I think you need to get outdoors more lah. I've been writing about tech, science etc forever. Go look up my old posts on robotics...long before the ideas became "hip".

What's so "fishy"? I can write "serious" and I can write "offensive"...depending on what my muse chooses.

You oso same what. sometimes you make sense. The other times you really show that you come from "another generation" completely out oftouch with our new world, new ideas (some mindless, Ido agree) and new ways of doing things.

Anyway, the day is still young. Lots of chance for you to engage in finger pointing, judments, condemnation...I must say, a praiseworthy skill set to those who admire you.

Virgo 49 said...

Wah Matilah said we oldies out of touch to his new world.

He could be in his late fifties and sixties but is still hip as the Manure Millieninals.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't read Matilah's posts any more. Why?

1. First, too vulgar. That means he has a vulgar character. A vulgar character has the tendency to be violent. That explains why his wife and children left him.

2. Too boastful - to the point of attacking and belittling others, even unprovoked.

3. He thinks he is the superior one around here. All others' views are not important. Only his is the important one.

4. He is too slimy. He twists and turns his arguments to suit his mood, subject or opponent.

5. He is too long-winded. No time to waste on such long and never-ending posts.

6. He is able to give and take. He wants to win all the time.

7. He repeats the same old shits all the time. Until it becomes robotic. A robot is usually controlled by someone via a switch button.

8. Last but not least, he thinks he is intellectual but he is just a Jackass of all trades, master of none.

Anonymous said...


6. He is NOT able to give and take.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ Virgo

Yes, most of you guys, I have to say in complete honesty, are wildly out of touch.

>> is still hip as the Manure Millieninals.is still hip as the Manure Millieninals. <<

I don't know about that, but I certainly do my darndest to keep up. Young people are full of energy and zest. Sad to say, many people I grew up with and those who are my contemporary or older are JADED and have a deep-seated psychology of being "pissed off" with the world or themselves, or others...or whatever...who knows lah?

And wonder why? They don't take care of themselves, eat bad food, don't break a sweat, over-indulge too much---smoking, drinking, sleep-deprived, indulging in "negative thoughts"... to the point where they're taking medications 24/7, waiting for the "lorry to arrive".

Why in the hell do I want to waste my time and energy with them? Hell NO. I prefer the young stuff...at least I have to whip myself to "keep up", not only physically but also existentially to be able to understand where they're coming from.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ 140

Thanks for the feedback! Glad I made your day, mate! 👍🏻👍🏻

Virgo49 said...

As posted by Matilah:-

"anchoring is when you "lock" your baseline to some piece of info. This is used very effectively by salespeople all the time. e.g.: they inflate the price of something---say a $15,000 car, they'll place a (say) $20k sticker on it, so you now have "$20k is the cost of this car" in your brain. Then the bargaining starts, and you manage to get the price to $16k, seal the deal and walk away congratulating yourself on being such a "tough negotiator"."

This is what the PAP been conning the Daft Sinkies every Budgets presentation.

They cleverly will proclaimed that they are going to subsides billions of Dollars for the people and the Economy.

Here their Catch: Instead of taxing you xxxx billions they will said this year Budget we will reduce the taxations from xxxx billions to this yyyy billions.

Simple terms is instead of taxing you suckers $10.00, we are now taxing you $8.00.

Hence for every $2.00 loss in Revenue we are losing XXXXX billions in Revenue.

This is their Term of Subsidies. So instead of drawing funds from their coffers, they used this taxation calculation and said this is our SUBSIDY.

That's why they can proudly said NO reserves is been drawn out. One back bencher can whisper with glee to his neighboring seated back bencher who smiled.

In their hearts, wow extra bonuses soon.

Sales Gimmick- An item is placed for sale at $100.00 initially.

The cost is actually only $20.00. To psycho the dafts, they simply jacked up the price to $150.00. Then a BIG signboard SALE at $120.00.

Many dafts thought wah piang, cheep cheep saved $30.00, Quick quick buy before it's too late somebody grabbed.

In the end they made ab extra $20.00 on their already profit of $80.00.

This is pure con nee ism. of the Dafts.

Latest News: China reported that the COVID-19 does not originated from the Wuhan Market but from some other source,

Good show to see that they are investigating from other sources- ahem sabotage.

Anonymous said...

@ Virgo @ 1.46pm

// Good show to see that they are investigating from other sources- ahem sabotage. //


Anonymous said...

We may have contained the virus outbreak in Red Dot, but please do not be too jubilant.

Let us hope that countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia does not end up like China. This is particularly important, knowing that we depend on them for most necessities outside of mainland China. Rice, vegetables, fish, poultry and eggs to name a few.

How dependent we are on others is only apparent when we are at the end of the rope. That is why in olden societies, people have to thank the farmers for the food before they eat, above all else. In modern society we do not appreciate but even look down on farmers, just because people think that having lots of money is all that matters. You cannot eat your mansion, your money, your shares, your jewellery when food is not available, no matter how much you are willing to pay.

But lessons will never be learnt.

Virgo 49 said...

Hi Anon.

Also like water.

Don't think you self sufficient when disasters may happen.

NOT willingly to sell even how much you want to pay.

Now Matland in Suspense with Mad Hater in his usual suspense drama of joining PAS and UMNO in challenging to be the Government.

Amything untoward Sinkieland may happen if they with PAS had agenda against the Red Dot.

Anonymous said...

Virgo 1.46

When China scientist reported that COVID-19 did not originate from the Wuhan Market but from other sources, you can be sure there will be a lot of effort being put in, by you know who, to discredit this information.

They already have painted China as lagging in transparency and unreliable in giving truthful news, which negativity has seen much of the world already bought into believing in this thinking, after centuries of conditioning.

They are now trying to discredit the WHO as well by claiming corruption, which causes delay in it's actions to control the outbreak. The WHO did not criticise heavily but had instead been praising China's efforts in dealing with the outbreak and this does not fit in well with the West. Give a dog a bad name and skin it seems to be the mode of operation of the West. The WHO did not give China a bad name!

I really hope that China can provide clear concrete proof of this finding to squash the eating wildlife and batman story.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Off topic:

Aiyah, why can't Singapore have more entertaining politics like Malaysia? Che! Boring lah.

See how Dr Machiavelli Mahathir played everyone's backside?

The guy's a legend lah. 94 years old. Slammed everyone. Now make "alliance" with "frenemies" and ex outright "churi duit" enemies.

Malay political soap opera lah. 👍👍

SSO said...

Mahathir has resigned! Now the Malaysian King is responsible to appoint someone else to form the new government. Failing that an Election has to be held.

If a fresh election is held now, Barisan Nasional will make a comeback and Najib Razak may escape the gallows.

Instead, Anwar Ibrahim may face new charges?

Anonymous said...

While the World Health Organization is calling for preparations for a world pandemic on the Covid19 disease, Singapore seems to be winding down its guards. Daily local reports from the main media look like everything about the corona-virus infections is steadily being watered-down. This is highly strange and suspicious. Is someone trying to calm the potential panicked population to the extent that good sense and propriety have been thrown to the airborne division of the military?

Anonymous said...

World-wide, stock markets saw sharp fall and gold price spikes. Bad news or good news?
Don't know. Bad can later become good. Good can later become bad. Best advice is: "Don't count your blessings before you killed the goose that lays the golden eggs for you.

Anonymous said...

Gd Morning All.

Hi Anon 6:15AM;
Think Your Reading that Sin is acting cool and that it is in full control of the COVID-19 Out break is spot-on.
The Actual Situation may not be so and any mishandling of the Outbreak could be fatal to the living and economy of survivals of Sinkies.
Complacency and negligence must not take place, otherwise the Consequences shall be dire.

Let us hope that Sensible Folks are incharge of Sin and will deal with the Outbreak Sincerely and Seriously.
There should be no let downs in the Duty of the Leaders to protect the People and their Wellbeings.

Virgo 49 said...

Matland, like China so vast. Here coffeeshop gang fight can go to another coffeeshop and drink kopi.

Sinkieland like a Rat Hole, where to run???

Can still go to City Above The Clouds for jackpot whereas you be peeing and pooping in your pants don't know when the next middle going to hit you

Virgo 49 said...

Missles that tumble your condoms and HDB flats

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

In the first week of February, at least five members of the Chinese community in Portsmouth and Southampton are believed to have suffered verbal and physical abuse during which the virus was mentioned, according information handed to Hampshire police.

In one incident, a public bus driver refused to allow a woman wearing a face mask onto the vehicle, while elsewhere a female university student was called a “f***ing virus” as she walked home wearing a face mask.

Another student allegedly had stones thrown at him in Southampton town centre by male and female suspects, who shouted racist abuse involving the word “coronavirus” and told him to go back to his “f***ing country”.

Members of the Chinese community are reportedly of wearing face masks in case they prompt abuse, while the University of Southampton’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association created an anti-racism poster with the words: “I am not a virus. I am a human.”

“The atmosphere is very negative, partly because of the news and the media, and the fake news you see on Facebook,” said Dr Michael Ng, chair of the Chinese Association of Southampton, has documented incidents and has raised more than £8,000 to buy medical equipment to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“There are people who are misinformed and people who are already racist and use it as an excuse. We are trying to educate people that if we put on masks it doesn’t mean that we carry the virus.”

He told The Independent it was a problem “not only affecting the Chinese, it’s affecting all the Asians, anybody who looks like Chinese”. Yahoo News