In an effort to improve the transparency of the data of the Covid-19 deaths, the Ministry of Health (KKM) has decided to release 2 daily fatality figures, namely the “Reported Deaths” and “Actual Deaths”.
According to The Star, the Head of Data at the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, Dr Mahesh Appannan, said the Reported Deaths are based on the day the case was announced to the public, while Actual Deaths are based on actual date of deaths which could be earlier.
“We are categorising the reported cases according to the true date of death, so the rakyat and policymakers can get a proper picture.” Dr Mahesh said.
Meanwhile, he also said some of the Covid-19 deaths which KKM reports daily could have occurred “weeks before”, due to a backlog in investigating the true cause of fatality.
Nonetheless, this can be seen in the CovidNow portal where the Saturday’s (Sept 11) data showed a Reported Deaths of 592, where the Actual Deaths were much lower at 100.
“Back in July/August, our frontliners were really overwhelmed, especially in the Klang Valley.”
“This caused some delays in investigation, and therefore reporting. This means that some deaths which happened weeks ago are only concluding investigation, audit and reporting now.” Dr Mahesh said.
Earlier, Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin had tweeted to ask Dr Mahesh to explain and provide context and regular insights on datasets that the ministry publishes daily.
In response, Dr Mahesh said the Ministry had aimed to be more transparent about the numbers for Reported Deaths and Actual Deaths.
“But it is also vital for us to have a proper picture of the trend – in the Klang Valley, deaths are clearly going down, not up (as expected with a high vaccination percentage).” Dr Mahesh added.
He also said Malaysia is one of the only few countries that reports the Covid-19 fatalities publicly, in addition to the organised and detailed list of each death according to actual and reported date.
The data is now available at the ministry’s CovidNow website as well as the Ministry’s Github online hosting page.
Meanwhile, he explained that the ministry reports deaths as being “due to Covid-19” rather than “with Covid-19”.
“Death due to Covid-19” refers to a clinical investigation that has found that the cause of death was Covid-19.
“Death with Covid-19”, on the other hand, means that the patient was positive for Covid-19 at the time of death, or a short time before.
“We focus on deaths ‘due to Covid-19’ because it is important to have the correct number for analysis of vaccine effectiveness, case fatality rate, etc.”
“However, this takes time, because it requires autopsy and clinical audit, rather than just checking if the patient is Covid-positive.” said Dr Mahesh.
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