US Study Predicts Malaysia May Record A Total Of 26,000 COVID-19 Deaths By September

As of yesterday, 2 June, Malaysia reported a total of 2,993 COVID-19 deaths.

Cover image via Astro Awani & AP/CNA Asia

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Malaysia's COVID-19 death toll may hit 26,000 by September, a study by the University of Washington projected

According to Bernama, the projection was made by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) — an independent population health research centre that is part of the University of Washington — based on the current trajectory of COVID-19 related deaths reported in Malaysia.

The study, which involved not only Malaysia but other countries as well, was last updated on the independent global health research centre's website on Thursday, 27 May.

This indicates that the estimated number will be around nine times the recent cumulative death toll nationwide, which is 2,993 deaths recorded as of yesterday, 2 June.

Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said the study also predicted that the daily death rate would rise to almost 200 cases towards the end of August.

Dr Adeeba — a World Health Organization (WHO) Science Council member — said, "COVID-19 is set to be the second-highest cause of death in Malaysia after heart attack."

She discussed the study in a Sinar Harian programme hosted by veteran journalist Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar that was aired live yesterday.

A graph presenting the results of the study.

Image via Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington

The IHME website indicated that the prediction took into consideration six factors of change in mortality that have occurred since the pandemic was first reported to have started in December 2019

The elements taken into account include:

1. The total COVID-19 death rate, that is, all deaths directly related to COVID-19 infection.
2. The increase in mortality due to needed healthcare being delayed or deferred during the pandemic.
3. The increase in mortality due to increases in mental health disorders including depression, increased alcohol use, and increased opioid use.
4. The reduction in mortality due to decreases in injuries because of general reductions in mobility associated with social distancing mandates.
5. The reductions in mortality due to reduced transmission of other viruses, most notably influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and measles.
6. The reductions in mortality due to some chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease, that occur when frail individuals who would have died from these conditions died earlier from COVID-19 instead.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Reuters/The Straits Times

Adeeba highlighted that the fight against COVID-19 in the country is something that all Malaysians should be involved in, especially by complying with the rules of the current lockdown

She mentioned that the current nationally mandated Movement Control Order (MCO) is the most important battlefield in the fight to curb the rising number of COVID-19 positive cases and COVID-19 related deaths reported daily.

"We should take this MCO to really reflect, strategise, and reset. Make plans that we can carry forward while awaiting the complete vaccine rollout," said Adeeba, who is also the chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation.

She added, "I don't think we can afford to have MCO 5.0 anymore."

She also revealed that the public trust in the country's leadership during these difficult times is a key component in managing the country's COVID-19 infection and death rate.

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