KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 – There has been much hue and cry lately about the number of brought-in-dead (BID) due to a Covid-19 infection (dying from/with Covid-19 before arrival to hospital) in Malaysia.
It was even more puzzling when we learnt that there were many of them coming in dead, but were being reported much later.
Up to February 23, 2021, the country has seen 1,076 deaths since the first death was witnessed on March 17, 2020. From this 1,076, we have seen 104 (9.67%) that were brought in dead. You can say that 1 in 10 who are dying from Covid-19 are brought in dead!
From this total of 104, we have tabulated that 20.19%, or 21 cases, of the 104 were reported seven days or after being brought in dead (this tabulated from their case number to time of death reporting (all info made available on http://covid-19.moh.gov.my/). It must be pointed out that five individuals were excluded as we were unable to source the dates and case numbers related to their deaths.
Six (28.57%) of these 21 BID cases reported seven days or after being brought in dead were foreigners – one each from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Pahang, Labuan and Sabah. From the total of 104 BID cases, we found that 79.81% of the brought in dead were reported in fewer than seven days. However, it remains that the 20.19% were reported much later (some took over 40 days!).
From the chart above, we can see the number of cases that were BID and only reported seven days or after, with the percentages indicating the number of BID that were reported after the seven-day mark. Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Melaka had high percentages of their BIDs being reported much later.
However, number wise, it must also be important to point out that the number of BID (late reporting) amongst all the states seems persistently high in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. On February 23, there were four BIDs: one from Sabah and three from Selangor.
The Sabah BID was reported within four days, however the Selangor cases were reported within 9, 11 and 32 days. This provides some cause for concern:
- Are we using RTK Ag or RT-PCR to see if those who are BID died from Covid/due to Covid-19?
- If it’s the former, why is the reporting taking so long? If it’s the latter, why are we wasting resources? RT-PCR is supposed to tell us in what phase the person is within the cycle of infection.
- With so many days post-death – were the last rites done with the practice of the SOPs as per how they handle those whom passed away due to Covid-19? If SOPs weren’t followed- were those involved quarantined long enough after exposure? This might be considered a workplace cluster if at all existent.
With this, it is understood that the Ministry of Health might be having manpower issues to update the daily numbers and this is much understandable, knowing that they are using manual systems for a few materials like contact tracing, reporting etc.
However, this can be supplemented with the fact that they should consider reporting deaths per day, especially if they are doing it according to cases and separating the numbers according to latest deaths and those delayed reporting.
This is only fair to not confuse the public or cause a scare with the sudden increase in death numbers we have seen, especially in 2021.
Note: The author of this article compiled data from the daily postings of the Ministry of Health, the Health Director-General’s website and their respective official social media postings. It must be noted that this data was manually compiled and might not be free of errors (especially if the postings made by the above-mentioned sources were not corrected/informed via their respective medical outlets).
- Note: CodeBlue is publishing this analysis anonymously because the author says: “Malaysia today punishes those who want to put things right”.