Friday, 8 January 2021: While observing the rising number of Covid-19 in Malaysia, the Center for Market Education (CME) invites the government not to react with fear but with a sound data analysis and a better communication strategy.

“We are concerned about the growing rumours about the possibility of another MCO”, said Dr Carmelo Ferlito, CME CEO. “The more recent scientific literature is showing that there is no correlation between draconian restrictive measures and curbing the spread of Covid-19; the explanatory variables are to be found elsewhere, such as in latitude, climate, social habits and population age”, he added (Ref: 

Dr Ferlito explained that the results obtained in different parts of the world with lockdown are so heterogeneous that it is impossible to identify in the movement restrictions an explanatory power to the spread of the virus. “If the same policy produces different results in different contexts, it means that the main factors behind the results were different” – Dr Ferlito added.

CME observed that in different regions those countries that were mildly affected in March and April are now experiencing a strong wave of Covid-19. It is the case of Malaysia in Southeast Asia and Germany in Europe (the latter is now recording double number of deaths compared to Italy). This means that these countries were spared by the virus by natural factors rather than by restrictive measures. And these measures in Europe are failing to produce the expected results.

According to CME, then, it is necessary to avoid measures which would harm human lives under many perspectives without obtaining important results in the fight against Covid-19.

The Center for Market Education invites the government to focus on the following initiatives:

  • Better data analysis and publicity;
  • Better communication strategy;
  • Strengthen research.

Data analysis is crucial in identifying the root of the problem. With regard to Italy, in example, we have the following information on the Covid-19 related deaths:

  • Average age: 81 years.
  • Deaths by age group:

    COVID-19 deaths by age group in Italy, data as per 29 December 2020

    COVID-19 deaths by age group in Italy, data as per 29 December 2020

  • 67.2% of the patients who passed away with or by Covid-19 had three or more different pathologies.

These data are not only important from the statistics standpoint, but because they help to implement sounder policies and – if accompanied by a proper communication strategy – they help the people in better evaluating their risks. 

In example, data above suggests that school opening is not a real issue, while elderly people or people with different pathologies should minimize their exposure to public places.

We need a constant update about these data for the case of Malaysia, and we need these data to be public and properly communicated, with an emphasis aimed to protect the most vulnerable groups. 

While there is no point in locking down the entire population, with huge and dramatic consequences, those subjects that are more at risk needs to be properly informed and helped in protecting themselves. 

At the same time, in evaluating risk when exposed to the right communication, the rakyat should step-up in terms of self-responsibility and consciousness about their role in fighting the virus.

CME suggests two more working points:

  • Start to move asymptomatic and mild cases to home treatment, to avoid to stress the healthcare system and to create unnecessary healthcare clusters.
  • Push the research system to investigate treatments that may be a better alternative to mass vaccination.

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About CME: The Center for Market Education (CME) is a boutique think-tank based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As an academic and educational institution, CME aims to promote a more pluralistic and multidisciplinary approach to economics and to spread the knowledge of a sounder economics, grounded in the understanding of market forces. In order to do so, CME is not only involved in academic initiatives, but it organizes seminars, webinars and tailor-made economics classes for students, journalists, businesspeople and professionals who wish to better understand the relevance of economics for their daily lives and activities. Economics matters and needs to be presented in a fashion in which the link with reality is clearly visible. In this sense, we look not only at theoretical economics but also at policy making, with an emphasis on the unintended consequences generated by political actions.