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Death rate from COVID-19 reinfection lower than that of first-time infections: Ong Ye Kung

The rate of severe illness was also lower for reinfection cases compared to first-time infections, said the Health Minister. 

Death rate from COVID-19 reinfection lower than that of first-time infections: Ong Ye Kung

The accident and emergency (A&E) department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore, in a photo posted on Sep 19, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Tan Tock Seng Hospital)

SINGAPORE: The mortality rate in Singapore from COVID-19 reinfection is lower than that of those who were infected for the first time, said Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Nov 29). 

In Singapore, the mortality rate of reinfection cases from September to November was four per 100,000 cases, lower than the rate for first-time infection cases of 35 per 100,000 cases, he added. 

Mr Ong was responding to a parliamentary question from MP Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang) about a US research paper that suggested COVID-19 reinfection was more dangerous. 

According to some media reports, the paper found that second COVID-19 infections were more severe compared to first infections, said Mr Ong. These media reports have not been clear or accurate, he added.

The paper does not compare the severity between first-time infections and reinfections. It instead compares the outcomes of those who had a COVID-19 infection versus those with two or more infections, said the Health Minister. 

“Put it simply, getting sick twice is worse than getting sick once, but getting sick for the second time is not worse than getting sick the first time,” he added. 

The rate of severe illness, which refers to those who need oxygen support or intensive care, was also lower for reinfections at 232 per 100,000 cases, compared with first-time infections at 282 per 100,000 cases, said Mr Ong. 

“Our data also shows that achieving minimum vaccination protection, in other words, three doses of an mRNA (vaccine) or four doses of Sinovac, lowers the risk of severe illness, whether it is a first or subsequent infection," added the Health Minister.

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Source: CNA/hw

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