More than a year on, the global pandemic still rages on, disrupting life as we knew it. Just as we start breathing slightly easier through that mask in one part of the world, another wave of COVID-19—emboldened by new mutations—ravages lives, communities, livelihoods and economies. Countries like Singapore have learned—and continue to learn—how to resume living, working and playing “normally” without throwing caution to wind.
At Duke-NUS, we have adopted hybrid working models that suit each group within our close-knit community—executive and administrative staff, students and faculty, researchers and, of course, operations. And we closely monitor the Government’s strategy so that we can adjust our operations as needed.
I feel privileged that I have received the vaccine. As I see my colleagues, friends and family moving closer to getting theirs, I feel confident we can eventually beat this. But we can’t rest on our vaccinated laurels. We must do all that we can to help those who are vulnerable, countries that are short on resources, and societies that need strategies to help them safeguard their people, who aren’t all convinced that the many measures in place to protect us are worth the trade off, including getting vaccinated. I encourage you to say yes when you are offered a vaccine. Getting vaccinated is the first step to life as it was pre-2020.
And that brings me to the sub-theme for the second issue of MEDICUS this year: origins. We join our very own virus hunters Wang Linfa and Gavin Smith as they and other experts piece together a remarkable outline of virus evolution across species and countries.
We will delve into the origins of new trends in medical education in our “In Conversation With” Ian Curran and Trudie Roberts. We also spoke to a group of our alumni who graduated into the pandemic last year to find out what working has been like for them so far.
I am particularly inclined to recommend our interview with Tazeen Jafar about her recent paper that documents mental health issues arising from COVID-19, and why she, with her focus on cardiovascular and metabolic health, is particularly concerned by her findings.
I conclude by inviting you to browse through the stories in this issue of MEDICUS and welcome you to send us your feedback on how we can make this publication even better for you. Looking forward to transforming medicine and improving lives with you for the world.