It has been tough looking at the number of new COVID-19 cases this past week. In all but one day, Malaysia has recorded over 1,000 cases, including the record high 2,234 new cases reported on Thursday. In fact, things have been looking so dire that at this rate, we as a country of just over 32 million people, will record more COVID-19 cases than China by next week.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported 1,810 new cases bringing the total number of infections to 80,309. That means Malaysia reported 10,073 cases in this week alone. This puts Malaysia just shy of China’s reported 86,688 cases. To put that into context, China has a population of over 1.4 billion people.
What’s more, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Wednesday that the number of new cases is likely to remain high in the coming days. He attributes this to the government’s latest mandatory COVID-19 screening on all foreign workers. This makes the likelihood of us surpassing China’s numbers in the next few days, a very likely scenario.
But, while those numbers look absolutely disheartening, there is a bit of a silver lining here. For starters, mandating more screening is always a good thing. It’s always important to identify cases so that the first responders and all those involved can take quick action to nip it in the bud, and prevent the spread.
On top of that, Malaysia is actually doing quite well when it comes to our mortality rate. While we may have a large number of cases, we have only had 402 deaths attributed to this virus so far. Compared to arguably more developed countries like Australia and South Korea, our death toll is far lower.
Australia, for example, has reported a total of 28,011 cases so far but 908 of the people infected in Australia have died. South Korea, on the other hand, has reported 40,786 cases yet their death toll is currently at 572. Our mortality rate of 0.5% is also far below the global average of 2.24%.
This looks like an indication that we’re better at treating our confirmed cases, but in this regard our neighbours in Singapore are doing much better. Despite reporting 58,305 cases so far, only 29 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported.
Still, looking at the numbers, props have to be given to our healthcare system. On statistics alone, it looks like they’re doing a good job, but they can only do so much. The rest is up to us.
I’m sure, like many of you, this current wave of new cases has been devastating to my morale and mental health. It feels almost like everything we did in the past was for nothing. Everything came undone because of factors that were entirely out of our control. And that’s really frustrating.
But to give up now would be the real crime because it’s clear now that we’re definitely not out of the woods yet. With the loosening of our movement control measures, the potential for even more cases should we get careless is far higher. So, while it’s probably really hard, take this not as a sign that everything is hopeless, but more as a reminder that everything can go to shit real fast if we let our guards down.
Follow the SOPs, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. We’ll only get through this if we all do it together.