Highlights in the media today: Symptoms may persist after recovery for COVID-19 survivors, President Joko Widodo calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, Domestic stability important amid looming recession.
In Indonesia, the conversation about COVID-19 long haulers is missing. They are COVID-19 survivors who have to live with symptoms long after being cleared of the COVID-19 infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its September 9 update, said that while people typically recovered from COVID-19 within two to six weeks, for some, symptoms might linger or recur for weeks or months following the initial recovery, even among those with mild cases.
The WHO also said that COVID-19 might increase the risk of long-term health problems, as it could affect not only the lungs, but also the heart, brain, and the nervous system. An Italian study published in July on JAMA Network Open found that 87.4% of 143 patients who had recovered from COVID-19 reported persistence of at least one symptom, particularly fatigue and dyspnea (shortness of breath).
As of September 24, 16:00 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 262,022 COVID-10 cases, with 191,853 recoveries and 10,105 deaths. In the past 24 hours, the government had reported a record-high daily number of 4,634 new cases.
In his first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Joko Widodo called for equal access to future vaccines and urged countries to work together and set aside rivalries to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jokowi urged nations to cooperate and promoted “a win-win approach” to tackling both the health and socio-economic effects of the pandemic. More than 170 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 were being tested worldwide, but only nine have reached phase 3 safety trials.
Most of them were being developed by American and Chinese vaccine producers. Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi recently said that the government was employing bilateral and multilateral methods to secure potential future vaccine supplies.
Bilaterally, Indonesia has secured massive supplies of candidate vaccines made by producers from China and the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, it is participating in the COVAX Facility, a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan.
The government projected the country’s economic growth to stand at -1% to -2.9% in Q3, as the country battled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) Senior Researcher Enny Sri Hartati said on Wednesday (September 23) that people were resilient enough to face a recession. However, domestic stability needed to be maintained, so that consumption could still move the wheels of the economy albeit in a limited way.
According to Enny, the impacts of the recession will have a greater effect on people within the top 20% and the middle 40%. Weakening economic activities will drag down their assets and put pressure on their household spending. Meanwhile, people in the bottom 40% are relatively more resilient, as they have a higher level of adaptability.
Kompas.com, September 24, 2020, Indonesia confirms 262,022 COVID-19 cases
The Jakarta Post, September 24, 2020, p.1, Changed lives: Symptoms persist in COVID-19 long-haulers
The Jakarta Post, September 24, 2020, p.1, Jokowi calles for fair access to vaccine in UNGA speech
Kompas, September 24, 2020, p.1, 15, Maintaining real sector for faster economic recovery