COVID-19 danger is real, not imagined

COVID-19 danger is real, not imagined

KUALA LUMPUR: For a whole year, the coronavirus causing COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc worldwide and as of yesterday, it has infected over 109 million people and caused more than 2.4 million deaths globally.

In Malaysia itself, total cases have reached 264,269 and deaths 965 as of yesterday. Yet, there are people questioning the seriousness of the pandemic that has struck over 200 nations and caused untold economic damage as well.

To be honest, no one should have any doubt over the graveness of the situation. This pandemic is real and it is not, as claimed by some quarters, a figment of our imagination.

And, this is why the Ministry of Health is issuing reminders day after day on the danger of COVID-19, which was first detected in the city of Wuhan in China at end-2019, to ensure the public do not let down their guard as there is no remedy for the deadly infection.

We have been “living” with the virus for a year now and the government has implemented various measures, including proclaiming a state of emergency, to curb transmissions.

Sadly, there is still a handful of individuals out there who for some strange reasons think that COVID-19 is not as dangerous as it is made out to be.

My university mate Nurul Ain Alias, 36, who is a fishmonger at the Selangor Wholesale Market, said she has had enough of warning some of her friends on the danger of COVID-19.

“I keep telling them how crucial it is for us to comply with the SOPs (standard operating procedures). Not all my friends are careless, just some of them who only follow the rules when the authorities are around,” she said, adding that the market where she works in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, has, fortunately, not recorded any case of COVID-19.

Nurul Ain is worried about the attitude of some of her friends who seem indifferent to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

“They think COVID-19 is just like any other flu,” she said.

Apparently, several TikTok videos were uploaded on social media last month by COVID-19 category one and two patients – housed at low-risk quarantine and treatment centres – showing them having fun and these videos have created the impression that the infection is harmless.

Many netizens were captivated by the videos which showed the patients exercising, performing the zapin dance and even staging a fashion show in their hospital apparel.

The patients came up with the videos probably to kill their boredom and to cheer themselves up but after watching their antics some netizens have arrived at their own conclusion that COVID-19 is not dangerous.

“Some people who watched the videos told me that if they were really sick, they wouldn’t be making videos of themselves having fun.

“They also think that no one has died from COVID-19 alone and that the deaths reported involved patients who had other health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. They feel that even if they get COVID-19, the infection will be mild,” said Nurul Ain.

Whether it is a mild or serious infection, COVID-19 should not be taken lightly. Since the pandemic hit our shores, many patients who recovered from COVID-19 have been sharing with the media the misery they experienced whilst battling the infection.

One of them Abdul Karim Omar, the imam of Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in Shah Alam, reportedly found himself in a life-and-death situation after he was infected by the coronavirus. He did not suffer from any co-morbidity but he developed a bad cough, lost his appetite and had breathing difficulty.

“Let’s not be complacent. You can be an imam or minister… the virus can strike anyone. If you don’t have to leave your house, then stay at home. Let’s all observe the new norms,” he said.

It is time for all of us to stop subscribing to fallacies. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is dangerous and there are no two ways about it. And, anyone among us can get infected.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and your infection is mild, don’t take it easy because if you fail to comply with the SOPs, you may end up infecting your loved ones, for example, your parents, who may not be as lucky as you are.

Clinical Research Centre Malaysia medical officer Dr Arvinder Singh HS has, through his Twitter account, addressed public confusion over COVID-19’s seriousness.

“What we have to understand is that patients at level one, although asymptomatic, have to be quarantined. Why? Because they have already been infected and can infect others although they have no symptoms. If they sneeze or cough, they can infect others.

“Not all infected (by the virus) will be at level one. If the infected person has high blood pressure or diabetes, their level of infection can be (anything from) 1-5.

“Therefore, if an individual who doesn’t know he/she has COVID-19 (level one) meets older people (high-risk group), the individual can infect them and their infection will be more serious,” he explained.

The Ministry of Health has said there are five categories of COVID-19 infections, namely category one (asymptomatic), category two (symptomatic without lung inflammation), category three (symptomatic with lung inflammation), category four (symptomatic with lung inflammation and requiring oxygen) and category five (critical with organ complications).

The perception that COVID-19 only poses a risk to the vulnerable group is wrong. The above explanation clearly shows that the infection is dangerous no matter which category you fit into.

You may or may not show any symptom but you can infect the high-risk group if you don’t comply with the SOPs and help the government to curb the transmission of this highly contagious disease.- Bernama