The suffering that ravaged India and Brazil has reached Southeast Asia. Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation, now has the world’s highest count of new infections, with 57,000 new cases reported on Friday.
The highly contagious Delta variant fuels the meteoric rise in infections on the islands of Java and Bali. But even the record case numbers are a vast undercount. Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia, estimates that the true number is three to six times higher.
Some hospitals are setting up emergency expansions, housing patients in large tents. But thousands of people are sleeping in hospital hallways, tents and cars, waiting for an open bed. And officials estimate that 10 percent of their health care workers, on average, are in isolation after exposure.
Scarcity: “If we go to the hospital, we have to bring our own oxygen,” said Nyimas Siti Nadia, 28, who is trying to help her aunt’s family get treatment. At one hospital in the city of Yogyakarta, 33 patients died this month after the central oxygen supply ran out.
Only about 15 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people have received a vaccine dose. Just 6 percent are fully inoculated.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are also facing their largest outbreaks yet.
Courtesy – NYT