A sudden spike of cases would be inevitable as there are still local transmissions, says expert
by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA may experience a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic soon, if the public becomes complacent, health experts said.
Osel Group chief clinical and innovative scientist Dr Kris See said a sudden spike of cases would be inevitable as there are still local transmissions although they are lower compared to the neighbouring countries (Malaysia recorded zero local Covid-19 cases yesterday for the first time since March).
“Personally, I think a second wave of Covid-19 may happen soon, based on data derived from our independent research lab, Osel Diagnostics.
“Initially, we thought it might hit somewhere in September, but judging from the regional situation in Japan, Australia, South Korea and China, it could happen between the end of July and early August,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.
He stressed that although it is based on a predictive model, Covid-19 is a virus and until an effective vaccine is created, the jump in number of cases is always possible.
“However, if we all adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government wherever we are, I’m sure collectively we could prevent further spread of the virus in our country,” Dr See said.
Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur respiratory physician Dr Helmy Haja Mydin shared the sentiment that there will be undulations in the number of Covid-19 cases until a vaccine is found.
“No matter what we do, the number of cases will go up and down depending on circumstances. A huge spike, which also means a stress on resources, is what we must look out for.
“In this aspect, we need to keep ensuring that sufficient testing and social distancing measures are continuously enforced,” he told TMR.
Dr Helmy said the country must prepare and remain vigilant by increasing testing levels, hammering the message of social distancing and intervening when necessary.
He also emphasised that there must be a balance between public health priorities and socioeconomic needs, as the economic engine will only start moving once health concerns have been addressed.
“We must work towards a more agile form of intervention, whereby cases are picked up early and quickly, leading to appropriate interventions.
“It is more time- and resource-intensive, but it would mean that we work towards an equilibrium which allows society to function in as safe a manner as possible,” he said.
Dr Helmy added that without economic movement, there will be increased levels of poverty which will affect both health and healthcare delivery.
While Malaysia is seeing an excellent improvement in Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently warned that the pandemic is now in a “new and dangerous phase”.
Its chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as many countries are easing lockdowns, the virus is still spreading fast and a vaccine remains months off at best despite several trials by scientists.