Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that his ministry would no longer release separately the daily Covid-19 numbers starting Friday (Feb 18). Instead, the figures will be released with data on bed utilisation, the number of patients in intensive care and those requiring respiratory assistance.
This move by the Ministry of Health is laudable as releasing more detailed Covid-19 data would encourage the public to see the numbers in a holistic manner and form a better picture of the state of the Covid-19 situation in the country. This is particularly crucial at a time when the number of cases are rising as the Omicron variant rages, because without putting things into context, it can cause unnecessary alarm among the people.
As the country has reached a high vaccination rate among its adult and adolescent population, and is in the process of vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11, most of the Covid-19 cases are either in Category 1 or 2, which range from no symptoms to mild ones.
So, rather than releasing the rising daily numbers alone, a comprehensive set of data would allow people to better understand the burden of the disease and adhere to the healthcare protocols — such as wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing — without fearing the worst senselessly.
Also, the naysayers will have less ammunition in their arguments against the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.
As we move to the endemic stage from a pandemic, the public must learn to live with the virus while staying informed about the Covid-19 situation.