Covid19: No End In Sight?
By Sharanpreet Kaur & Denise Devina (BAC Apprentices)
From 20,000 to 21,000, 19,000 to 18,000. It shoots up again to 22,000.
These are the figures many Malaysians look out for every single evening, the recorded number of positive cases, the number of recovery, and the grim number of deaths. This is Malaysia’s daily covid statistics. It is no longer about the weather, nor about the stock market.
Today, it is all about masking up and social distancing, cleaning ourselves and sanitizing as often as possible. And most importantly, it is all about getting vaccinated. Bottomline, it is about protecting ourselves and others.
Restrictions robbing our freedom of movement, the surge in cases crippling businesses and the economy and the wrath of the pandemic causing loss of lives.
Staying indoors, shutting ourselves away from the outside world, studying and working remotely have become the new norm. What a way to live life. One we never envisioned, and unprecedented times indeed.
It is baffling to think how close we once were, as a nation, to watching this virus ebb its way out. We came as close to having zero cases a day, back on 1st July 2020. We celebrated and rejoiced, as we began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to realize that it was all short lived. Did our complacency breed failure? Did we let our guard down?
Just a week ago, on 2nd September 2021, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Covid-19 is expected to become an endemic in Malaysia by the end of October, and with 80% of the population expected to be vaccinated by then, it is about time Malaysians and the world learnt to ‘live with the virus.’
That being said, it is important to note that the figures mentioned above are not just numbers. They are lives. People like you and me, with families, with friends, with loved ones.
Research conducted by University Science Malaysia (USM) as of May 2020 revealed that 54% of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals and frontliners were already approaching a burnout merely three months into the pandemic.
With the soaring number of cases and deaths, it is evident that this could only worsen for medical frontliners, considering the overwhelming workload. Having to attend to a plethora of COVID-19 patients, the physical fatigue and tiredness, the emotional pressure faced, the guilt of having no choice but to pull the plug for older citizens in favor of younger, more ‘deserving’ ones, the risks of getting infected with the virus themselves and infecting their loved ones back at home, the mental torture in light of the fact that it’s so difficult to see a way out of this, all this and more has physically, mentally and emotionally scarred our frontliners.
Divya Dhyana, a young doctor and ex-Miss Universe Malaysia contestant posted a video on her Instagram page, seeking to raise awareness and to warn fellow Malaysians to take the virus and safety measures seriously, and to assume that ‘Everyone is COVID positive, until proven otherwise,’ for that is how grave the situation had become.
As far as Malaysia is concerned, the nation is still struggling. The lack of immediate and urgent medical equipment, with ICUs and wards reaching full capacity, have left healthcare workers no choice but to hesitantly turn away many Covid-19 patients, and unfortunately, many end up being brought in dead (BID).
The CovidFund Campaign
On 1st August 2021, the BAC Education Group along with Rotary District 3300, Yayasan Kelab-Kelab Rotary Malaysia, The Malaysian Association of Hong Kong, and Make It Right Movement launched CovidFund.my, an initiative geared towards easing the burdens faced by our Malaysian healthcare system in tackling this virus, specifically so with regards to the shortage of life saving medical equipment and essential medical supplies, which include oxygen concentrators (5L and 10L), syringe pumps, oxygen flowmeters, high pressure suction vacuum regulators, pulse oximeters, portable suction units, high flow non-invasive ventilators, turbine ventilators, volumetric pumps, portable ultrasound, Spo2 monitors, camo beds/canvas beds, patient transport trolley, IVD stand, touch transport ventilators, mineral water cartons and more.
CovidFund targets to raise RM 1 million to procure and deliver urgently needed medical equipment to hospitals throughout the nation. As of 6th September 2021, a total of RM 421,120.00 has been raised, which makes up 42% of the target amount.
To date, BAC and its collaborative partners have successfully assisted five hospitals in the Klang Valley, the latest being Hospital Ampang which received a Multi-Parameters Vital Signs Monitor on 27th August 2021. The other hospitals aided through CovidFund include Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), Hospital Selayang, Hospital Serdang and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR), Klang.
Whilst hospitals in Klang Valley observed a reduction in the number of Covid-19 related hospital admissions and ICU referrals, unfortunately, the same could not be said about the other states.
As of late, there has been a tremendous hike in the number of Covid-19 deaths in Sabah. In response to this, on 1st September 2021, BAC through the Covid Fund initiative successfully procured 3 Vital Signs Monitors (3 parameters), valued at RM 19,500, which were then handed over to Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Sabah, to be sent out respectively to three health clinics in the state, namely in Putatan, Penampang and Luyang.
Going by the hashtags #KitaJagaKita, #CovidFund and #GiveBACk, it is hoped that this campaign will gain the attention and support of the people at large.
In the words of the founding father of the nation, Tunku Abdul Rahman:
‘We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.’
Through such unity and by embodying the 1Malaysia spirit, may we collectively remain steadfast in this fight against COVID-19.