PETALING JAYA: Several factors have been cited as reasons for the sharp increase in the Covid-19 death toll.
According to health experts, slow progress in the vaccination process and the reluctance of people to be screened have led directly to a sharp increase in infections and deaths.
Another factor is the failure to recognise symptoms early and seek medical attention immediately.
Many people lost their lives as a result, said Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy founder and chief executive officer Azrul Mohd Khalib.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam said new strains of the virus that are more virulent have also contributed to the increased numbers.
The daily death rate began its quick ascent on April 22 when seven fatalities were recorded, reaching a daily peak of 126 on June 2. Another 82 succumbed to the infection yesterday, bringing the death toll to 3,460.
Azrul said everyone should register for vaccination immediately and not miss the inoculation date. Many have reportedly failed to show up for their jab.
“The vaccination programme continues to fall short of expectations, especially in the stated objective to reach those who are most vulnerable,” he said.
Another problem is that people fail to seek medical attention until they are in an advanced stage of the infection, he added.
“As a result, many lost the battle by the time they reach a doctor.”
Azrul said many people are either still not aware of the Covid-19 pandemic or are more concerned about being quarantined, making them reluctant to come forward for treatment.
There are other risk factors. More than 3.4 million Malaysians live with at least two health problems, such as diabetes and hypertension, making them more vulnerable to complications if infected. Half of them already have at least three health risks.
Azrul said the only way to stay safe is to strictly observe the standard operating procedures.
“Always wear a mask when out of the house, keep a safe distance away from others and wash your hands regularly,” he said.
“More importantly, register for vaccination and when the time comes, go and get vaccinated.”
Subramaniam said the newer variants of the Covid-19 virus are spreading more rapidly and those who have been infected are getting a more severe form of the infection.
He said failure to recognise symptoms and getting medical attention late can result in poorer outcomes in the management of Covid.
“For some, getting to a doctor late can be fatal.”
Subramaniam added that co-morbidities also raise the risk of severe complications from Covid-19 infection.
“Many Malaysians do not have regular medical check-ups and they can be at high risk without knowing it.”
He said a shortage of manpower in the public healthcare system is another problem as hospitals are overwhelmed.
“If the daily increase in the number of cases reaches five digits, we will not be able to cope. Community transmission is already high and it will take longer to flatten the infection curve.”
Subramaniam also proposed that mass screening and vaccination of the population be introduced quickly so that the situation can improve.
“With everyone forced to stay home because of the full lockdown, this presents the best opportunity for mass screening.”