Singapore’s Covid Experience and Overestimated Death Rates

by Ethan Yang
The American Institute for Economic Research

On December 14, 2020 Singapore’s Ministry of Health communicated a summary of the steps it took to contain a raging Covid-19 breakout in its migrant worker living facilities. The report itself claimed that the city-state had over 320,000 migrant workers living in cramped dormitories and around 47% or a little over 152,000 contracted Covid-19. This number includes individuals either confirmed with a PCR test, which tests for traces of the virus and is commonly employed as a nasal swab or a serology test, which tests for Covid-19 antibodies. A serology test can detect those who have been exposed in the past and have since recovered or never developed symptoms at all.

In Singapore, migrant workers, mostly from other parts of Asia such as India and China, are subject to a number of restrictions on their freedoms and are often seen as second class citizens.

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