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Jakarta Post

Experts warn of future spike in COVID-19 fatality rate

Experts warn of future spike in COVID-19 fatality rate A cemetery worker helps his colleague out of the grave of a COVID-19 patient at Pondok Ranggon public cemetery in East Jakarta on Nov 12. As of Thursday, Indonesia has recorded 20,589 fatalities. (JP/epost-robot)
News Desk
Jakarta   ●   Fri, December 25, 2020 2020-12-25 14:34 137 0920e6703081f028872405a526004453 1 National #wearmask,#washyourhand,#mothermessage,#covid19taskforce,#keepyourdistance,#avoidcrowd,#socialdistance,#usesoap,COVID-19,kawalcovid19,fatality Free

Experts have warned of a possible spike in Indonesia’s COVID-19 fatality rate as the country sees a constant increase in daily cases.

From Dec. 1 to Thursday, Indonesia recorded over 5,000 cases in a single day. The peak so far came on Dec. 3 with 8,369 cases, while there were four days that saw over 7,000 cases per day.

As of Thursday, Indonesia has recorded 20,589 fatalities from COVID-19.

Seeing the alarming trend, molecular biology expert Ahmad Rusdan Handoyo Utomo said the country should brace for a possible surge in the COVID-19 death rate, especially after hospitals nationwide reported they were running out of beds for patients. 

The high occupancy rate for hospital best, Ahmad went on to say, contributed to an increase in opportunity for patients to recover. However, in exchange, this would lead to a lack of space for new COVID-19 patients who need further medical treatment.

KawalCOVID-19, a volunteer group that independently records COVID-19 case numbers and fatalities, revealed in September that Indonesia had among the world’s highest COVID-19 death rates in the 17 years and younger age group.

The group discovered that the case fatality rate (CFR) of this age group was at 0.9 percent or 45 times higher than the United States at 0.02 percent. The CFR itself is defined as the proportion of infections that results in death. 

“That means 145 out of 16,007 infected children in the age group have died,” said KawalCOVID-19 cofounder Ainun Najib.

Read also: COVID-19 patients in Jakarta dies within 11 days on average after having symptoms: Study

Regardless, Ahmad said COVID-19 fatality at this stage was more preventable compared to when the disease first emerged in the nation. 

Two major factors decrease the risk of a COVID-19 death in the country, such as a patient’s age and the doctors’ understanding of the pandemic, he further said.

“It’s relatively easier to cure younger patients.” 

Furthermore, doctors and medical personnel have started to understand the proper method to treat elderly patients, who face a higher chance of death caused by the disease.

“Doctors have started to reduce the death rate among senior citizens as they have begun to understand how to control the virus,” Ahmad said. 

He also went on to say that dexamethasone was very helpful in increasing the the recovery rate among patients. 

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid, a class of drug that is commonly used to decrease the immune system’s response against various diseases to reduce swelling and other allergic-type reactions. (dpk)


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.