DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang mourned a huge rise in the number of fatalities yesterday as Malaysia reported a record 592 deaths in a single day, significantly more than the previous high of 393 on Aug 26.
However, the actual number of deaths is 100, with the rest due to a data backlog, according to the Health Ministry.
The latest deaths pushed the country past the 20,000 fatality threshold as the national death toll is now 20,419, as confirmed by the official Covid-19 data tracker site Covidnow.
The death toll was not released in Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah's daily statement yesterday, which reported a total of 19,550 new Covid-19 cases.
Lim said he woke up this morning, like all Malaysians, to utter shock to find yesterday's Covid-19 fatalities so high.
This placed Malaysia fifth in the world in daily Covid-19 deaths yesterday – after Russia (796), the US (718), Mexico (699) and Brazil (635).
According to the death tally chart on the tracking page, apart from the number of actual deaths of 100, the others were newly registered deaths from a data backlog.
"This is due to a clear-up of data and most of the fatalities are part of a backlog. The actual number of fatalities is believed to be significantly lower," a Health Ministry source told Malaysiakini.
Three days ago, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin explained that his ministry has overhauled how it reports Covid-19 deaths so that the numbers will reflect the situation in real-time.
He said that the previous method caused up to “weeks” of delay between when a death happened and when it was reported to the public.
Khairy displayed a series of graphs that showed a contrast between the two dates showing the example of Selangor where despite the fact that deaths were nosediving, the reporting mechanism reflected rising deaths.
Yesterday's number of patients in intensive care was 1,247 (positive: 936, suspected: 311) and the number of intubated patients was 667 (positive: 453, suspected: 214).
The active number of hospitalised cases was 12,997, according to the tracker.