During the one and a half years covid 19 has been ravaging the planet, the hardest hit areas have moved from place to place. In the spring of 2020, it was especially lethal in Los Angeles. A year later India was being hard hit. Since it’s a novel virus, government and health agencies have frequently been baffled as to how to stop it. Efforts to stop it have had mixed results.
This summer was especially hard for Indonesia. The daily number of reported cases is about 32,000, with a total of over 3.7 million cases.
There are several reasons why Indonesia is having special challenges in containing Covid. Though it is the fourth largest nation, the population is concentrated on the island of Java, home of Jakarta, the capital. Resources like Covid shots and oxygen are concentrated in this population center, which also holds most of Indonesia’s political power.
Unless one lives on Java, they are usually hours away from substantial medical facilities. Outside of Java, the oxygen supplies are sparse, and this can mean the difference between life and death to a Covid patient. Those in rural areas, especially the elderly, are vulnerable. People must take autorickshaws, motorcycles, or busses for hours to see a doctor. By August, the provinces with the highest cases included North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, and Bali.
Bali has a strong tourist industry which strengthens Indonesia’s economy. For that reason, there was a special effort to make sure the local population was vaccinated. Unfortunately, that was undermined by having thousands of foreigners from various parts of the world visiting this exotic island. Many of them cannot get medical care if they need it. To make matters even worse, the Balinese only receive about one-fourth of the oxygen tanks they need.
Tragically, the new delta variant is leaving the children vulnerable. About 100 Indonesian children die each week, most of whom are under the age of five. So far about 1,245 children have died since the pandemic began, but 70 percent of these deaths have happened since the beginning of July. Children often get Covid from family members. Even in less densely populated parts of the country, families live in very close proximity. Medical science is limited in its ability to stop this novel pandemic. All we can do is call on God to do what man cannot do.
DW.com, August 11, 2021
CNN.com, August 13, 2021
Aljazeera.com, July 31, 2021
Aljazeera.com, August 16, 2021
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