An old voice note on staggering COVID-19 deaths in Malaysia from a new African variant has gone viral on WhatsApp! Here is what you need to know…
Voice Note On COVID-19 Deaths In Malaysia Goes Viral!
An old voice note on staggering COVID-19 deaths in Malaysia has gone viral on WhatsApp. It claims that a new African variant has caused a massive surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths, with many people in Malaysia “brought in dead” (BID).
The voice message is sometimes accompanied by warnings like this:
The voice note claims that hospitals in Malaysia no longer have beds for patients who are 70 years or older, and 48-60 people are dying every day in Kuala Lumpur.
The man on the voice note claims that the new African variant enters the lungs directly, and cannot be detected by COVID-19 tests. He also claimed that many younger people – 30 to 40 years old – have been infected by this new variant.
The man also claimed that the DG Health of Malaysia said that by next week, there will be ten thousand infections a day.
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Viral Voice Note On COVID-19 Deaths In Malaysia Is Old!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : Voice Note Is From 2021
When I was first asked to fact check the viral voice note, I immediately remembered that it went viral in 2021 – more than two years ago!
Fact #2 : KKM Says Voice Note Is Fake News
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Fact #3 : African Variant Is Omicron Variant
The African variant mentioned in the viral voice note is actually the B.1.1.529 variant that was identified in 2021. The WHO identified it a variant of concern on 26 November 2021, and renamed it as the Omicron variant.
Fact #4 : Omicron Variant Is Less Virulent
Omicron and its sub-variants have been the dominant COVID-19 variants worldwide for the past two years. They have proven to be highly infectious, but fortunately, much less virulent than the original virus and the Delta variant.
Hence, the claims that the (South) African variant (which is now known as Omicron) are killing many people isn’t true. Thanks to mass vaccination, and the lower virulence of the Omicron variant, hospitals are no longer filled with dying patients.
Fact #5 : COVID-19 Tests Can Detect Omicron Variant
The claim that the (South) African variant (which is now known as Omicron) cannot be detected by current COVID-19 tests is nonsense. The current COVID-19 tests are more than capable of detecting Omicron variant infections.
In fact, these tests have not changed fundamentally – we have been using the same COVID-19 lab and home tests to detect Omicron infections for the past two years.
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Fact #6 : COVID-19 Is Increasing In Malaysia
That said, it is important not to be complacent. COVID-19 infections are actually trending upwards in Malaysia.
On the same day the old voice note went viral, the current Malaysia Director-General of Health Dr. Muhammad Radzi said that there gas been a 57.3% increase in COVID-19 cases from November 19-25, compared to the week earlier.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the cases (98%) are only showing mild symptoms. Even so, we should all take precautions, to avoid getting infected.
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