The following are three insights from my analysis of the COVID-19 statistics of Malaysia compared to 45 other countries that have a population size of >30 million and based on data dated 7 June 2021.
1) There has been a rapid rise in the number of new cases since April 2020. As of 7th June, Malaysia was ranked 4th highest in daily reported cases among 46 countries that had a population of 30 million or more. The case fatality rate (CFR) has increased from 0.37% to 0.56% over the past 2 months, however, Malaysia still had the lowest CFR among these 46 countries. This data suggest that the Malaysian healthcare system is still doing very good in managing COVID-19 cases and has been able to accommodate the increased number of active cases over the past few months. One factor that may confound the CFR is the age of the population, however many of these countries have a population as young or younger than us.
2) The healthcare system has been able to test a relatively high number of the population compared to these other countries. A total of 3.03 tests are done daily per 1,000 population and Malaysia ranks third for the metric among the 46 countries. However, the recent rise in test positivity ratio over the past few months to the current 7.2% suggests the possibility that the current daily cases may be much higher than that being reported.
3) I don’t usually recommend a full lockdown due to its large personal, psychological, social and economic cost. However, this FMCO is justified based on widespread community transmission and an overstrained system. The full movement restriction should reduce the transmission intensity of COVID-19 and will help us to flatten the curve of this third big wave of cases in Malaysia.
Notes: The estimates are 7-day rolling (moving) averages unless otherwise specified. This means that the estimates are averaged over the past 7 days.• Countries used for comparison: China, India, US, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, Philippines, Egypt, Vietnam, DR Congo, Turkey, Iran, Germany, Thailand, United Kingdom, France, Italy, South Africa, Myanmar, Kenya, South Korea, Colombia, Spain, Uganda, Argentina, Algeria, Sudan, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Poland, Canada, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Peru, Angola, Malaysia, Mozambique, and Ghana.• Analysis uses data dated 7 June 2021 from Our World in Data
Written by Sanjay Rampal
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