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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Most Indonesian youngsters feel invincible

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 30, 2020   /   02:17 pm
COVID-19: Most Indonesian youngsters feel invincible Young people enjoy a warm evening on the banks of the Seine in Paris on Sept. 14, as France reinforces measures to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Most young people still do not believe they could be infected with COVID-19, according to a survey carried out by Statistic Indonesia (BPS).

The survey shows that 17 of 100 respondents aged 17 to 30 said they did not believe they could be exposed to COVID-19.

"This assumption is very unfortunate, because [many] people still think like that; they don't even believe that COVID-19 exists," Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) chairman Daeng M. Faqih said on Wednesday at the virtual launch of the #PesanPemuda campaign, a program to educate youth on the importance of hygiene, as quoted by tempo.co.

According to Daeng, as long as there has been no COVID-19 positive patient in their circles, they think it is not real. Hence, they flout health protocols.

He went on saying that a lack of sanctions and the notion that the health protocols were ‘troublesome’ explained people’s defiance with regard to health protocols.

IDI member Nadia Alaydrus said young people who felt they were not susceptible to COVID-19 and were reluctant to comply with health protocols assumed they had a strong immune system.

"It could also be because they feel bored and want to return to the normal life [they had] before the pandemic, which makes them reluctant to comply with health protocols," she said.

Therefore, Nadia provides education targeting young people through videos on TikTok. "This is why I continue to educate the public, especially the 17-to-30-year-olds, to adhere to health protocols," she said, adding that she chose TikTok because the app was widely popular among that age group.

The World Health Organization revealed in August that the proportion of those aged 15 to 24 who were infected with COVID-19 had tripled in about five months.

An analysis by the WHO of 6 million infections between Feb. 24 and July 12 found that the share of people aged 15-24 years rose to 15 percent from 4.5 percent. 

In September, KawalCOVID-19, a volunteer group that independently records virus case numbers and deaths in Indonesia, also recorded a case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.9 percent among children, or people aged 17 years and younger, which is 45 times higher than in the United States, where the rate was 0.02 percent. 

"We've said this before and we'll say it again: Young people are not invincible," WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as quoted by Reuters.

"Young people can be infected, young people can die, and young people can transmit the virus to others."  (iwa)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.