Dear diary …
The above was how ‘The MCO Diaries’ started every single day for 84 days when Malaysia was under the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (March 18-June 9, 2020).
The daily ‘diaries’ were a tedious and time-consuming affair as I had to record details of what happened around the world which meant monitoring news websites as well as social media for breaking or interesting news.
It usually had hourly updates although there were times more than one incident happened within an hour.
While tiring, it perhaps probably helped me from going insane during the initial weeks of the lockdown.
Like many, I was not used to being locked up at home for long periods and not being allowed to visit my favourite makan haunts or even go outside seemed claustrophobic.
So I immersed myself in chronicling what was happening to others.
There were plenty of laughs with the numerous jokes, memes and videos which were included in the diary. I also got to share my love of John Prine as he featured heavily in the video of the day.
Prine, sadly, passed away on April 7 from complications caused by Covid-19.
Recipes, too, played a big part and the editors were informed many readers looked forward to them each day.
There were bad times, too, as I got riled up with the seeming instances of double standards which seems to go on to this day … (coughTanSriAnnuarMusacough).
Although Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did come out to deny the existence of double standards, many are still not convinced that is the case.
As a friend said: “Justice must be seen to be done.”
The highlight of doing the ‘diaries’ was when it was described as “infotainment” while a few others requested it remained daily instead of weekly.
A special mention goes to Rizal Solomon who jokingly said a year ago: “Hey, you gonna be doing this for 200 days, lah”.
Well, it has been a year and I blame him for jinxing it – even though ‘The MCO Diaries’ became a weekly affair each Saturday from June 13, 2020.
Since then, I have gradually moved away from starting each entry with ‘Dear Diary’ … well, except for today!
The year has flown by and as we enter the second year of ‘The MCO Diaries’, here are some important milestones.
Covid-19 in Malaysia
Feb 4: First case reported.
March 15: The first time we had more than 100 new infections in a single day (190 cases recorded, for a total of 428 cases).
March 16: With 566 cases recorded, Muhyiddin announced that the MCO would be enforced on March 18.
March 17: First two deaths in the country.
March 18: First day of MCO (790 cases).
March 20: 110 new cases make it 1,030 infections.
March 22: Two new deaths make it 10 fatalities.
April 2: Five deaths make it 50 fatalities.
April 28: One new death makes it 100 fatalities.
July 1: Only one reported case (8,640 cases).
Sept 16: 62 cases make it 10,031.
Sept 26: Total cases 10,769 on day of Sabah elections with 133 deaths.
Nov 18: 660 cases make it 50,390.
Dec 24: 1,581 cases make it 100,318.
Dec 31: The year ends with a total of 113,010 cases recorded (88,941 recoveries and 471 deaths).
Jan 4: Seven deaths make it 501 fatalities.
Jan 13: Start of second MCO with a total of 144,518 cases and 563 deaths.
Jan 30: Record-high 5,728 cases make it 209,661.
Feb 16: 5,718 patients recover from Covid-19, the highest in a single day.
Feb 17: 22 deaths make it 1,005 fatalities.
Feb 24: Muhyiddin is the first Malaysian to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Feb 28: 2,437 cases make it 300,752.
March 16: Lowest number of new cases this year – 1,063.
March 17: Total cases recorded 327,253 (310,958 recoveries and 1,220 deaths).
GOOD, BAD, UGLY
The good is Malaysia’s recovery rate as 94.96 per cent of patients have been declared Covid-19-free.
Throughout the year, the top three biggest days of recoveries were on Feb 16 (5,718), Feb 17 (5,709) and Feb 18 (5,320).
The bad is our high number of cases which ranks as the 45th worst in the world. The three worst days for new cases were Jan 30 (5,728), Jan 29 (5,725) and Jan 31 (5,298).
The ugly, of course, is the number of deaths. While Malaysia’s fatalities from Covid-19 is low, losing even one person is sad.
February was a bad month with Feb 18 (25 deaths), Feb 8 (24) and Feb 17 (22) being the three days with the highest recorded deaths.
Overall, our fatality rate from Covid-19 is 0.37 per cent. Great job frontliners.
JUST TAKE THE VACCINE
I cannot believe this is the first Hank Williams video to be featured in the ‘diaries’. He remains one of my all-time favourites so I will be featuring him more often.
This ditty is perfect to describe what has been happening to us in the past year as it asks us to look at the positives in life.
Stay safe, folks.