Death isn’t far off where Covid-19 is concerned

By Lian Cheng

On April 23, 2021, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) announced that Covid-19 took the life of a 31-year-old man with no comorbidities in Miri. The young chap was admitted to Miri Hospital on April 7 after testing positive for the virus. A week earlier, he suffered a respiratory tract infection. He was pronounced dead after two weeks on April 21.

Then on April 28, SDMC announced three cases of brought-in-dead (BID) among the six fatalities caused by Covid-19. Among the three BID, two of them were in their 30s. Among the two Covid-19 victims in their 30, one of them involved a 37-year-old man from Sibu, who had no comorbidities. The man was experiencing fatigue and chest discomfort before he was found unconscious at home on April 24. He tested positive for Covid-19 the same day.

The 31-year-old man who passed away on April 21 is a case to note. It is the first Covid-19 death case in Sarawak involving a young person with no comorbidities. His passing is against the general belief that the novel coronavirus kills only the elderly and those with underlying health conditions or diseases.

One may just treat it as an isolated case. But following the second case of the 37-year-old young person from Sibu passing away the next day, the public should think twice about taking Covid-19 lightly.

Furthermore, notice that there are already three cases of BIDs — a scenario that SDMC has been trying to avoid from the beginning, apart from the other scenario of having to choose who gets to have the last available ventilator.

It is quite true that at this stage, Sarawak is still managing Covid-19. But with the three BID cases registered, many should realise by now that perhaps the whole Covid-19 situation is much more than we perceive.

It is quite alarming to see that despite the daily announcement of Covid-19 cases in many districts in Sarawak and that the pandemic has started to kill young men and women without comorbidities, the public seem to be oblivious and quite relaxed.

We can see many people moving with ease and pleasure in shopping malls, sitting around small round tables of less than two-feet in diameter at pubs or nestled comfortably on sofas of lounges while many more fill up coffeeshops and eateries. There are also those requesting the opening of markets and Ramadan bazaars.

The implementation of the Conditional Movement Order Control (CMCO) or Enhanced MCO, and stricter versions of the CMCO such as in Sibu and Bintulu, has been taken with a pinch of salt as many look upon the outline standard operating procedures (SOP) with a lacklustre attitude.

Some business operators scornfully refer to the SOPs as a nuisance to their day-to-day dealings.

This is in stark contrast compared to the first nationwide MCO, declared in March 2020. Perhaps due to the availability of vaccines, or people having started to get use to having Covid-19 around them, or perhaps, most are thinking that death is still far off.

Regardless of the reasons, perhaps death is nearer than we think. The two young persons who passed on — the 31-year-old in Miri and the 37-year-old in Sibu — must have believed that they were young, with no underlying illness and thus immune to Covid-19. They were not.

Based on SDMC reports, the first one suffered from a respiratory tract infection, a symptom of Covid-19, before he was sent to the hospital and eventually succumbed to the disease.

The second death only exhibited less severe symptoms of fatigue and chest discomfort. Note that it was due to the fact that he had fallen unconscious that he was admitted to hospital where he was classified as BID. And he was only tested positive for Covid-19 after his death. His family must have thought that he was young and had no comorbidities and thus, immune to Covid-19. Sadly, he was not.

And if the general public think that these two cases are isolated cases, think again. Death is not too far off as scientists and medical practitioners are still discovering new things everyday where Covid-19 is concerned, and it may have many more mysteries to reveal. — DayakDaily