KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Covid-19 cases who died before seeking medical treatment, known as brought-in-dead (BID), hovered above 20 per cent of weekly fatalities in Malaysia from August 1.
In the 37th epidemiological week from September 12 to 18, however, the national BID share of overall Covid-19 deaths fell to 17.5 per cent (186 BIDs of 1,063 total deaths) from 23.1 per cent (331 BIDs of 1,431 total deaths) the previous week.
September 17 and 18, in particular, saw just nine and three BIDs occurring each day respectively, compared to double-digit daily BID cases in previous days, while 97 overall Covid-19 fatalities nationwide occurred on September 18, compared to triple-digits previously.
Sabah contributed the highest share of 517 BID cases in Malaysia in the past two weeks from September 5 to 18 at 26 per cent, or 134 cases.
Penang contributed the second-highest share of the nation’s BID cases the past fortnight at 18 per cent, followed by Johor (17 per cent) and Selangor (11 per cent). The remaining states comprised less than 6 per cent each of Malaysia’s BID cases.
The 517 BID cases that occurred nationwide from September 5 to 18 comprised about 21 per cent of 2,494 total Covid-19 deaths in that fortnight.
Sabah reported the highest share of BIDs of its overall Covid-19 deaths, with 134 BID cases comprising 36 per cent of 368 coronavirus-related fatalities occurring in the state from September 5 to 18, followed by Penang (25 per cent), Sarawak (23 per cent), and Kuala Lumpur (23 per cent), exceeding the national rate of 21 per cent.
Only Pahang and Terengganu recorded less than 10 per cent BID of overall Covid-19 deaths in their states in the past fortnight, while Perlis, Labuan, and Putrajaya recorded zero BIDs.
It is unknown why Sabah and Penang are reporting such high BID proportions of their Covid-19 fatalities at more than a third and about a quarter respectively, in the absence of details on BID cases, such as their age, nationality, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
In the case of rural Sabah, residents, including undocumented people, may have difficulties accessing medical facilities. The high BIDs in the urban state of Penang may be due to Penangites’ fear of going to hospitals during the pandemic.
Penang reported Malaysia’s highest Covid-19 deaths per capita at 17.5 per 100,000 people for the past fortnight, almost triple the national 6.4 rate. As of September 19, Penang’s hospitals are nearly full of coronavirus patients at 91 per capacity of their intensive care units (ICU) and 90 per cent capacity of non-ICU beds.
When looking at mortality trends from August 1 to September 18, Sabah, Penang, and Johor saw only minor declines in BID proportions of their overall Covid-19 deaths in the 37th epidemiological week of September 12 to 18 compared to the previous week.
A third of Sabah’s 134 coronavirus-related deaths that occurred in the September 12-18 week were BID at 44 cases, falling just six percentage points from 38.5 per cent the previous week of September 5 to 11.
In Penang, about one fifth of 173 Covid-19 deaths occurring from September 12 to 18 were dead upon arrival in hospital at 36 cases, declining by seven percentage points from 27.9 per cent the previous week.
Johor’s BID share of overall Covid-19 mortality in the week of September 12 to 18 was 15.8 per cent, or 42 cases of 266 deaths, dropping by two percentage points from 17.9 per cent in the week of September 5 to 11.
Negeri Sembilan saw an increased share of BIDs at 18.2 per cent, or two of 11 coronavirus-related deaths that occurred from September 12 to 18, up 4.4 percentage points from 13.8 per cent the previous week.
The highly vaccinated state, with more than two-thirds of its total population double-jabbed against Covid-19, however has been recording fewer than 10 daily deaths since August 14.
Pahang’s BID proportion of its overall Covid-19 deaths also increased from about 6 per cent in the week of September 5 to 11 to about 12 per cent the following week, but fewer than 10 overall coronavirus-related fatalities occurred each day since August 27.
All states, except Negeri Sembilan, saw a drop in BID proportions of overall Covid-19 deaths in that period.
CodeBlue’s analysis used data on “actual” fatalities that occurred on the date of death, based on data accessed today from the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) GitHub database. These figures may change in subsequent days as MOH updates Covid-19 mortality data every day as backlogs are processed.