WHO Uses Malaysia ‘Reported’, Not ‘Actual’ Covid-19 Deaths

Both the World Health Organization and Our World In Data use Malaysia’s reported daily new Covid-19 deaths, including backlogged data, thus showing a misleading picture of Malaysia’s mortality trend that has actually been declining.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covid-19 dashboard updates daily Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia based on reported fatalities, including backlogged cases, instead of deaths occurring on the day itself.

Based on WHO’s latest entry, for September 13, WHO’s dashboard states that Malaysia reported 16,073 new Covid-19 cases and 413 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

However, according to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) new CovidNow tracker, while Malaysia reported 413 new Covid-19 deaths on September 13, only 33 occurred on that date, while the remaining are backlogged cases. 

CovidNow reports every day both backlogged deaths and fatalities that occurred on the day itself, terming the latter as “actual”. This “actual” death data is revised daily as backlogged cases are constantly entered on their real date of death. 

Hence, while at the time of writing, only 33 “actual” deaths were reported nationwide on September 13, this figure may change in the next few days if additional backlogged death entries are inputted for their real date of death on September 13.

Malaysia reported 128 “actual” Covid-19 deaths on September 13, based on seven-day averages. Again, this figure may subsequently change, although the difference is not likely to be significant as it’s an average of fatalities occurring across a week.

The cumulative Covid-19 death figure, 21,587 as of yesterday, takes into account backlogged cases as these were people who had died at some point during the epidemic, regardless of their real date of death.  

Malaysia’s real Covid-19 mortality trend declined 66 per cent from a peak of 305 deaths on August 7 to 104 yesterday, based on seven-day averages, following the coronavirus vaccination campaign that saw about 54 per cent of the total population fully vaccinated to date.

Global tracker Our World In Data also takes “reported”, instead of actual, Covid-19 death data from Malaysia, showing a misleading rising mortality trend instead of a real fall from August 7. 

Our World In Data reported 144.68 Covid-19 deaths per million people in Malaysia over the previous two weeks as of September 13, instead of 65 deaths per million people (or 6.5 deaths per 100,000) as reported on CovidNow as of September 14. 

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