Malaysia must stop setting new records in the Covid-19 pandemic if we are to gain control of the invisible but lethal war against the coronavirus
Malaysia set two new records in the Covid-19 pandemic yesterday.
Firstly, we took three days to cross the thousand mark for Covid-19 deaths from 12,000 to 13,000, as the cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths yesterday was 13,077.
We took 13 months on Feb. 17, 2021 to pass the 1,000 Covid-19 deaths when we registered 1,005 deaths; two months to cross the second thousand Covid-19 deaths; half-a-month to pass the third thousand Covid-19 deaths; 12 days to pass the fourth thousand deaths; 13 days to pass the fifth thousand deaths; 12 days to pass the sixth thousand deaths; eight days to pass the seven and eight thousand deaths; five days to pass the ninth, tenth and eleven thousand deaths; and four days to pass the twelve thousand deaths. Now we have taken three days to pass the 13th thousand mark.
Secondly, we have overtaken Bangladesh to be ranked No. 26 among nations in the world with the most cumulative total of 1,444,270 Covid-19 cases.
At the present rate of infection, we will overtake Canada today to be ranked No. 25 among nations in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
It is a mark of Malaysia catapulting to be one of the worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic that when we marked our 63rd National Day on August 31 last year, we were ranked No. 89 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, and in the past 12 months, we have so deteriorated as to overtake 64 countries, including China (which had gone from No. 1 to No. 107), Israel, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and UAE.
At the rate of present infection, Malaysia will deteriorate further and is likely to overtake Chile and Czechia by August 31 to be ranked No. 23rd among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, and the next question is whether Malaysia will overtake Philippines to be ranked No. 22 by the 58th Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, making Malaysia the second worst –performing country in ASEAN in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, we have kept our position among the world’s Top 10 countries with the most daily Covid-19 deaths, and our place among the world’s Top 12 countries with the most daily new Covid-19 cases.
We grieve at the high cost of human toll and suffering which the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought, with the loss of over 13,000 lives and the high rate of suicides. There is also a high incidence of Death on Arrival (DOA), responsible for as many as one-third of daily death rate in the 200-300 region. There are at present a quarter of a million people on treatment.
We are in race against time to complete the national vaccination rollout with the threat of the more transmissible and virulent Delta variant and other variants which may be resistant to existing vaccines.
I have said that Malaysia will be set on the path to return to normality when we stop setting dubious new records in the Covid-19 pandemic, sometimes multiple records a day.
It is tragic that after 20 months, it is still not universally appreciated that we have been fighting a losing war against the Covid-19 pandemic, and unless we gain control of this invisible but lethal war with a “whole-of-society” strategy and approach, no economic and national reconstruction can begin.