Khairy should give a proper answer as to why there are high Covid-19 death rates and high BID deaths and not play tai chee

The new Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, should give a proper answer as to why there are high Covid-19 death rates and high Brought-in-Dead (BID) deaths in Malaysia and not play tai chee.

In Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Khairy said the high number of Covid-19 deaths reported daily does not reflect the actual number of fresh deaths that occur within 24 hours.

He explained that the numbers are sometimes piled up over several days as the authorities need time to confirm the cause of death, especially in places like the Klang Valley which also have a high Covid-19 vaccination rate.

He said: “The daily death reports are not necessarily from the last 24 hours. There is a long backlog because we have to confirm the cause of death is from Covid-19 and not something else”.

Khairy said most of the backlog was a result of the high number of people brought in dead (BID) to hospitals, as their causes of death had to be investigated before they can be reported as a Covid statistic.

“Hopefully we will see a reduction in two to three weeks once we clear the backlog on deaths registered.

Khairy said most of the BID cases were Covid-19 patients who were quarantined at home and were not taken to the hospital in time as soon as their condition deteriorated.

He said many Covid-19 patients were also told to self-isolate at home and monitor themselves, and instructed to seek medical attention only when their conditions worsen.

“Without the right supervision, it is too late for them by the time they get sent to the [email protected]

I asked a medical practitioner what he thought of Khariy’s reply. This is his response:

“In summary, the causes of BID is likely to be poor communication between care giver and patient and inadequate treatment for these people being left alone in isolation to die.

“You tell a patient, lets us say 65 years old, quarantine him in a room with his handphone and panadol.

“What do you think runs through his mind? He knows that Covid can kill. So he ask, why is there no treatment to help me get well. Even if you do not wish Ivermectin, at least that patient deserves a small medical kit containing vitamin D, C, Zinc and an antibiotic.

“These are all drugs shown to help immunity and the last to combat coincidental infections. That medical kit serves as an assurance that he has a chance to get well. By all means monitor but give him something to give him hope. Hope keeps people alive.

“Healthy people below age 60 with category 1 and 2 has a 90% chance of survival if there are no comorbidities. The important comorbidities are obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cancers. These people even in category 1 and 2 should be admitted as they have increased risk of dying.

“Backlog : Once a person is BID, and they do a RTK-Ag test and if it is positive, that person is certified as a Covid death. That should not take more than 2 hours for test result. Is KJ saying that all BIDs are coroner's case requiring Post-mortem?

Post-mortem may have a backlog. RTK-Ag test takes 2 hours. Back log is minimal. I do not believe that they are doing Post-mortems for all BIDs.

“If there is really a backlog, is it just the previous fellow's inefficiency? Is he saying that the previous Minister did not do his job and KJ is tidying up? BUT the DG is the same. Please ask DG why the backlog?

“If there is a backlog, what is the estimate of the number? How many corpses are piling up? Does that mean that our Covid death is now nearer 30,000 instead of 18,000?

“Our crude death rate overall is 0.98% so far. We will soon cross to 1%. Surely counting how many people were BID with positive RTK-PCR cannot be very difficult?

“The global crude death rate is presently 2.06% while the projected Covid death rate by the Stanford experts is near 0.15% for Covid deaths. Is Malaysia creating a record again?

“KJ's comments has raised more questions? “

May be, Khairy can answer some of this medical practitioner’s queries.

Since Khairy was sworn in as Health Minister on 30th August, there had been 680 BID deaths. Is Khairy saying that this is a gross understatement and the actual situation is much higher – close to 1,000 BID?

We await clarification from Khairy on the matter.

The Covid-19 data yesterday was the best since Khairy took over as Health Minister giving hope that the upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths could be checked, although the evidence is not conclusive.

The number of daily new Covid-19 cases have fallen to 17,352 cases, although Malaysia had recorded daily new cases above 20,000 cases for 20 days since August 5, and yesterday’s figure was the lowest since August 10. We need more evidence that the upsurge of Covid-19 cases have ended as this is only the second day since August 10 that the daily new Covid-19 cases have been in the 17,000-range.

But what Khairy should note is that Indonesia has continued on a decline in daily new Covid-19 cases, recording 4,416 new cases yesterday – which is a quarter of Malaysia’s Covid-19 infections.

In the present wave, Indonesia reached a peak of daily 56,757 new cases on July 15, and had since receded to 4,416 cases, a level which it registered three-and-a-half months ago. Malaysia, on the other hand, had faced one the world’s longest Covid-19 waves for a whole year since the Sabah state general election last September.

May be Malaysia should send representatives to Indonesia to learn from them.

Although Malaysia’s Covid-189 death figures yesterday was less than that of India – Malaysia’s 272 deaths to India’s 290 deaths – it is still of matter of great concern considering the respective population of the two countries.

These are among the Covid-19 pandemic questions awaiting clarification and action from the new Health Minister.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri