Let Malaysia avoid the infamy of being the only country in the world to lockdown Parliament and suspend parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government for this is the road to defeat in the invisible war against Covid-19 to revive the economy devastated by the coronavirus
Yesterday, the 169-year-old New York Times filled the entire front page of its Sunday paper with the death notices of victims from the Covid-19 pandemic from across the United States.
In a decision the paper said was intended to convey the vastness and variety of the tragedy, the front page is a simple list of names and personal details taken from obituaries around the US.
The headline is “US deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss”, with a sub-heading that reads: “They were not simply names on a list. They were us.”
The entire list, which continues inside, numbers nearly 1,000 names, is a fraction of the total loss of life in the US during the outbreak so far, which, according to the Worldometer’s Covid-19 Data, stands at 1,685, 368 Covid-19 confirmed cases and 99,286 deaths at the end of Sunday – missing the 100,000 mark by 714 deaths.
The 100,000 deaths in the United States will be reached today, as the daily average of death toll in the United States in the past one week had exceeded 1,151 deaths.
The grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States is a great tragedy for mankind, just as the greater global toll of 346,416 deaths is a greater tragedy for humanity.
There is no cause for such a tragedy in the United States but for the folly of the nation’s leaders, in particular the US President, Donald Trump.
The United States and Vietnam had the first confirmed case of Covid-19 almost at the same time in January this year, but in the past four months, the Covid-19 outbreak was brought under control in Vietnam, which is now ranked as No. 143 nation in the world for the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases, recording 325 cases with no death in a population of almost 100 million people and which shares a substantial border with China.
The United State went berserk in the opposite direction, with the Covid-19 pandemic raged like a prairie fire, shooting the United States to the world’s top nation with the most number of Covid-19 confirmed cases and deaths - 1,685,368 cases and close to 100,000 deaths.
What went wrong with the American system of government when the United States, which had about 100 times more GDP than Vietnam, showed itself to be very backward in fighting the pandemic while a poorer Vietnam proved itself superior to the United States in the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic?
Instead of bringing the Covid-10 pandemic under control, President Trump was more interested in distracting attention of the American voters in a presidential-election year from his colossal failure of leadership by making ridiculous accusations of conspiratorial theories against the Chinese government.
It is extremely ironic that the United States Government has now banned travel into the United States from Brazil, where the Covid-19 pandemic has been spiking to become the world’s top No. 2 country with the most number of Covid-19 cases – 363,619 confirmed cases and 22,716 deaths – when Trump and the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, had been “soul mates” in playing down the risks of Covid-19.
Let us learn from the mistakes and successes of other nations.
Although we have done fairly well in bringing the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak under control – which we should have been spared if not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil – the jury is still out whether we have won the invisible war against Covid-19, which must involve victory in two parts:
- Bringing the Covid-19 outbreak under control, which includes ensuring that there will be no resurgence of the coronavirus until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available – which can take up to five years; and
- An “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” exit plan strategy and blueprint to revive the Malaysian economy in the quickest possible time and overcome the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The government should always be aware that we must win both parts of the invisible war against Covid-19, to contain the coronavirus and to revive the economy devastated by the coronavirus.
Let Malaysia avoid the infamy of being the only country in the world to lockdown Parliament and suspend parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government in the Covid-19 pandemic, for this can only lead to defeat in Malaysia’s invisible war to revive the economy devastated by the Covid-19 outbreak.