TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head on Thursday (June 2) said that Taiwan's COVID epidemic curve is "really similar" to that of Singapore and that when the nationwide diagnosis rate reaches 10%, the local outbreak will begin to subside.
During a press conference that afternoon, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the current situation in New Taipei City, Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Keelung City, and Hualien County are reporting a diagnosis rate of 10%. Chen then said that the "situation will be very clear within 10 days."
On Wednesday (June 1), Chen said that as long as the infection rate reaches 10 to 12%, the epidemic is expected to begin to decline. However, on Thursday, a reporter pointed out that in Japan and South Korea, it was not until the infection rate reached 20 to 30% that their outbreaks began to ebb and asked why Taiwan's epidemic would decline relatively faster.
He said that at the peak of the outbreak in South Korea the diagnosis rate reached 16%, while Hong Kong reached 8.7%, Singapore 11%, and Japan was very low, "probably less than 2%." The CECC head said that the epidemic curve in Japan is very smooth and the trend in Taiwan "looks like we are very similar to Singapore."
Chen explained that the diagnosis rate refers to people who have been officially confirmed with COVID, while the infection rate includes those who have not been tested or are asymptomatic. He said that some experts refer to the infection rate as the "black" (hidden) count with the ratio of confirmed cases to hidden cases at 1:2 or 1:3.
He said that when the diagnosis rate reaches 10% of the infection rate, the actual number of people infected could really be 20 to 30%.
He suggested that at this level, cases could start to go back down, but this is only what the center has observed and estimated and can be used as a reference for the epidemic's trend. Chen then asserted that "10% is stable, and at 11 to 12% (infections) start to go down."
Chen pointed out that Singapore's epidemic curve is the shape of a "hill" and the timeline is also similar to Taiwan's. Chen observed that the epidemic curve in Taiwan has reached a "plateau" with cases in northern Taiwan trending downward while infections in the south are trending "slightly upward."