CAN WE NOT BE ‘COVIDIOTS’?

The man is a nincompoop and a fool. Even worse, he took me for a fool as well.

—  John Flanagan, Australian author

Idiotic and moronic, that is the general trend that I gather from a brief scroll in the comments section of just about any Facebook post from the Health Ministry (KKM) of late.

In sharing that 98.4 percent of the Covid-19 cases out of the 20,988 daily case tally on Sept 2 was from Category 1 (asymptomatic) and Category 2 (mild symptoms), the team managing the ministry’s social media site was at the receiving end of a barrage of insults.

“Are you proud of this figure?”, one user wrote. Another said: “If we reach 100 percent Category 1 and Category 2, does it mean that we are free? Even if the cases are 50,000 daily?” Some even went to the length of accusing the KKM of fact-twisting.

It’s a sorry sight. We are now entering the eighteenth month of the anti-pandemic battle, and the literacy of the people in terms of the current Covid-19 situation is low.

Yes, it is disheartening to learn that the daily case tally is hovering around the 20,000 mark and for Sarawak to very nearly breach the 3,000 daily cases on Sept 2, but then again, hurling insults and levelling accusations don’t do any good. Just as it does nothing to stop errant standard operating procedure (SOP) flouters and those who are wandering out of their homes, putting themselves in harm’s way for no apparent reason.

Some would put it as pandemic-fatigue, some would justify that some leeway is due to those who had been put under movement restrictions for so long, but consider this, if we keep making excuses and continuing the tidak apa attitude, we’ll never see an end to this health crisis.

Ignorant is one way to describe it. The KKM had supplied the public with the data of cases, which details the Covid-19 case breakdown in terms of severity.

This too was met with unwelcome sarcasm from netizens, to which I ask, what twisted sense of humour does these people have?

“Finally, vaccinated infection rate is higher than non-vaccinated,” one user said, in an apparent jab at the nationwide vaccine rollout. “It looks the same (the infection rate for vaccinated and non-vaccinated). Is the KKM lying to us?” another asked.

What is wrong with these people? It’s one thing to be inquisitive and get to the bottom of things based on facts and figures, it is another to come up with a wild conclusion with the data being presented at face value.

But then again, I guess it is not surprising given that more people are getting medical advice from pseudo-experts rather than people with actual medical and infectious-disease prevention qualifications.

This trend of interpreting things at face value is also seen in knee-jerk reactions to daily Covid-19 case reports.

If the daily case is somehow higher than the previous day, then there will be those who are quick to point fingers and all sorts of ridiculous hashtags and expletives. If it is somehow lower, then they would be quick to suggests all kinds of relaxations i.e. inter-district travel, dine-ins etc.

Don’t these people know by now, that for the past 18 months, the daily case figure is a reflection of the infections occurring 14 days ago – the Covid-19 incubation period?

The knee-jerk reactions too, extend beyond social media that the people, with the low Covid-19 cases reported on the day itself, choose to throw caution to the wind, thinking that they’re absolutely safe when they are not.

The message here is that we can’t continue to be blundering idiots when it comes to the pandemic battle.

Yes, the decision making at the policy level in terms of health intervention measures rests with the authorities, with a certain degree of responsibility too.

But then again, the larger factor is the human factor. The people need to play their roles and do their part.

You can’t be vocal, blaming the spike in Covid-19 cases on others for defaulting the SOPs, when you yourselves are doing exactly the same thing.

The information that is derived from the data supplied by the KKM must be interpreted correctly to effectively and accurately gauge the current situation.

Otherwise, it would end up as misinformation and we will start to see things that are not happening and leading us to an ‘infodemic’.

I end this by saying what I have said all along – listen to proper experts, cooperate with the authorities and get that vaccine jab, it works.