Deciphering The State Of Covid 0 319

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen our country’s Covid’s numbers slowly decline. This has served as a major relief for fellow Malaysians whose fears were running at an all-time high when the cases surpassed 9,000, less than a month ago. Although we are seeing a decrease, many of us are left wondering if these numbers are truly reflecting the situation at hand and struggling to decipher the actual state of Covid in our country. 

When it comes to assessing the status of the pandemic there are a myriad of factors to consider – rate of vaccinations, rate of infectivity, rate of testing, status of lockdown and many many more. The government has made an effort to curtail the spike of daily numbers but many are left feeling abandoned by the lack of proper guidance. During the initial MCO, SOPs were unclear and contradictory with some of the population adopting a more relaxed attitude while others took it upon themselves to fully quarantine at home. This eventually led to the total lockdown which we are currently in the third week of. Only since then did the cases start going down, however, the community concerns lie in the fact that although the numbers decreased so did the rate of testing. 

Some argue that if we had continued testing at the rate we did when the cases were 9,000+, the number would have remained within that range. However, one thing we can clearly see is that the rate of infectivity has slowly decreased which shows us that even though they are testing less, the rate in which individuals are getting covid has reduced.

Another way to look at this is to look at the rate of vaccinations. One of the most commendable things our government has done is really push the rate of vaccinations up with more than 200,000 people receiving their first and second dose today. This is the biggest source of hope for many Malaysians because we can see how countries like America and the UK are able to slowly open back up after vaccinating the majority of their population. So far, we haven’t seen the effects of the vaccines reflected in our numbers but within the next few months it’s likely that we will be able to achieve some semblance of herd immunity. 

One other major concern within the population is the state of the economy. A variety of economic sectors have faced incredible hardship during this time with many SMEs being forced to shut down due to an inability to operate. Individuals all over the country have been left jobless due to budget cuts and without enough aid from the government, people are struggling to make ends meet. This is one of the biggest factors in the distrust and anger people are feeling towards the government mishandling of the pandemic.

Just yesterday, the government also released their exit strategy for the pandemic which includes 4 stages starting from June up to December. Each of the 4 phases has a goal for number of cases and percentage of population vaccinated. Many citizens were sharing their outrage and anger at this plan because the rate at which we are vaccinating, although immensely ramped up, is still very slow in comparison to other parts of the world and will impede the ability for Malaysians to get on with their lives.

 

It has been more than a year of living in this pandemic, the frustrations and anger of the community is understandable because many have suffered through losses of jobs, businesses and livelihoods while others have lost loved ones to the virus. In addition, this time last year our country was in a much better state with cases falling below 10 a day. The mishandling of the Sabah elections shows a direct line to the state of our country today and many are left feeling resentment for the handling of that situation.

The next few weeks will be very telling in how the rest of our year is going to look. Please do your part in ending the pandemic by registering to get vaccinated, staying home and staying safe.

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Moving Into An Endemic 0 432

Over the past week, new Health Minister Khairy has stated that by October Malaysia will be moving forward from a pandemic to an endemic. This comes after an arduous battle with Covid-19 over the past year and a half with almost 2 million cases and over 18,000 deaths.

What moving into an endemic essentially means is that we’ll all have to adjust to the virus being around, however, due to immunity from the vaccinations, it will no longer be deadly and thus the need for social isolation will no longer be as necessary. Hospitalizations, transmissions and death from the virus will significantly reduce and despite the potential of getting infected, Covid will be treated the same as most other cases of flu. 

A benchmark reference in turning a pandemic into an endemic is the 1918 influenza which took the lives of 50 million individuals. In recent times, Influenza A and most seasonal flu’s have descended from this initial virus, however, they have become much less deadly. Yearly they claim about 650,000 lives which are significant but not bad enough to affect our day to day the way it did when it first came it. 

It all boils down to a shift in immunity and a shift in perception – we’re not afraid of the common cold, we know that we won’t feel good for a few days and we’ll eventually recover. This is what Covid will likely evolve into, something that we are wary of but not fearful of our lives. Even in Malaysia right now, as of 8th September 97.8% of cases, 19.304, were individuals who had no symptoms or very mild symptoms. 

This shows that the vaccines are working and as long as we continue to vaccinate the country’s population in a timely manner, we’ll likely be reaching the end of the road soon and life as we once knew it will return. 

Critics of this decision believe that we are potentially opening up too soon, however, if the vaccination rates are high enough to justify this shift then there is nothing else we can really do. We cannot live in lockdowns forever and the economy cannot halt any longer. It seems like this is the time for a new chapter, hopefully, one that comes with greater health and safety for all whilst a sense of normalcy is returned. 

Do you think shifting into an endemic is the right decision?

So It’s Sabri, Now What? 0 345

Our bed’s been made, I guess we gotta find a way to lay in it 

Looks like our democracy has been disregarded for the time being and no amount of unrest from the citizens is going to make a difference. For most of us, this is our only home so it’s time to make the best of a bad situation and be clear about what we want from the people in power:

Parliament back in full session

If SOPs are in place and MPs are vaccinated, there is no reason for parliament not to reconvene. The voices of the people need to be heard and this is the only way we’ll be able to see that. 

Proper financial aid to the B40 community

Not just one-off handouts, but monthly financial aid to help those who have been struggling to put food on the table for the past year and a half. 

Restructuring of the Pandemic Recovery Plan 

Insanity is defined by doing the same thing and expecting different results – it’s time to rethink, relook and restructure our plan to get us out of this pandemic. It’s not about relying on the vaccines alone but holistically approaching the situation. 

#Undi18

Automatic registration of voters for those ages 18 and above for upcoming elections. 

Vaccinations for those in remote areas

Even though the vaccination rates have been tremendously high, it is clear that those living in the outskirts and the Orang Asli community have yet to receive their doses. 

Better support for our healthcare workers

Without our incredible healthcare workers, we would have seen many more fatalities in the country. They should be given full-time positions with the benefits that they deserve. 

Fair treatment of foreign workers

Foreign workers deserve to have safe working and living conditions that should be mandated under the law. 

Stopping the intimidation of activists 

Under a true democracy, activism, protests and the voices of the people must be heard. Activists should be allowed to speak on their views without fear of being investigated.

These are just some of the ways we want to see a positive change with the “new government”. Let’s hope that there will be some brighter days for us as Malaysians.

What are some changed you’d like to see?

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