How will Southeast Asia’s epidemic center ‘live with Covid-19’?

The Indonesian government seems to be shifting its strategy of eradicating Covid-19 to a scenario of living with this disease. Indonesia recorded more than 4.1 million cases and more than 139,000 deaths as of 11am on September 14.

Will Covid-19 become an endemic disease?

The Indonesian government expects the Covid-19 pandemic to become endemic by 2022 as the rate of immunity in the population increases amid an intensified vaccination campaign.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “endemic disease” refers to the continued presence or prevalence of a disease or pathogen in a population in an area. certain geographical area.

When Covid-19 becomes endemic, it will greatly reduce the threat to Indonesia’s health system because most people will be protected against severe symptoms as well as outbreaks of the disease. , especially if this is controlled through routine testing and contact tracing.

What happens to tuberculosis bacteria or other pathogenic viruses suggests that endemism is part of the natural developmental stages of many infectious diseases in humans.

About 89% of the 119 immunologists, infectious disease researchers and virologists across 23 countries interviewed in a recent Nature survey assessed that it is likely that Covid-19 will become endemic.

To adapt to this situation, the Indonesian government is currently preparing a number of measures, including controlling community activities and people’s behavior through the implementation of health protocols, strengthening building build herd immunity, strengthen health capacity and infrastructure in all regions, monitor the distribution of variants, and develop long-term public health adaptation plans.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus will not go away

The prediction that Covid-19 will become endemic in Indonesia has implied that the virus won’t go away out of this country. In contrast, Indonesia aims to have a sufficient number of people achieve immunity through vaccination and recover from natural infection.

The result of this is that infection will decrease while there are fewer Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. However, we still do not know when Covid-19 will become endemic in Indonesia. Experts estimate that it could take up to a few years or even decades for the Covid-19 epidemic to reach a stable endemicity.

The shift to endemism is determined by many factors, such as the infectivity of the virus, the type of contact in the community that allows the virus to spread, as well as the degree and duration of protection through vaccination and spontaneous infection. course.

The way Covid-19 becomes endemic in Indonesia is difficult to predict, but the government is taking several measures to control the disease.

At least for the next 1-2 years, Indonesia will continue to reduce transmission through the implementation and compliance of proven public health measures.

At the same time, the government will strengthen the health system’s ability to control future increases in cases until a sufficient proportion of the population is vaccinated, herd immunity is achieved, or a high level of infection is achieved. The severity of the epidemic is significantly reduced.

More importantly, the government’s strategy to contain Covid-19 will have to expand when, in addition to medical and technical measures, it also involves political, economic and social factors affecting the spread of the virus. spread of the virus.

Indonesia will continue to respond to Covid-19 through a government approach, collaboration across all sectors, and participation of stakeholders at all levels – from local authorities to communities. and build a clear, consistent partnership. The Indonesian government believes that it will not relax its vigilance too soon against the unpredictable nature of the current Covid-19 epidemic.

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