Overcoming Omicron and Future Variants

We all have the same hope: that Covid-19, which has infected 400 million people and claimed 5.8 million lives on planet Earth, will become an ordinary, mild disease, or even disappear from the face of the Earth. Don't take Omicron lightly. The impact of this variant is indeed not as severe as the Delta variant because the majority have mild symptoms. The transmission of Omicron has been very "hot" and our country is starting to be disrupted by a surge in Covid-19 cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Omicron (B.1.1.529) as a variant of concern (VoC) on 26 Nov. 2021. Invading the world over like a blitzkrieg, the number of Omicron cases is rising rapidly. In fact, the daily global increase is now 4-5 times (around 3 million cases) the peak of the Delta variant (around 750,000). Death rates followed. If the peak of Delta reached a fatality rate of 11,000 deaths per day, today Omicron kills 12,000 per day.

Mengatasi Omicron dan Varian Masa Depan

Jangan menganggap enteng Omicron. Dampak varian ini memang tak sedrastis varian Delta karena mayoritas bergejala ringan. Penularan Omicron sangat ”ngegas” dan negara kita mulai terganggu lejitan kasus Covid-19. Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia (WHO) sendiri memasukkan Omicron (B.1.1.529) sebagai varian yang harus diwaspadai (variant of concern/VoC) sejak 26 November 2021. Menginvasi ke seluruh dunia seperti ”perang kilat” (blitzkrieg), angka kasus Omicron sangat cepat menanjak. Bahkan, kini penambahan hariannya 4-5 kali lipat (sekitar 3 juta kasus) dari saat puncak varian Delta (sekitar 750.000). Tingkat kematian pun mengikuti. Kalau puncak Delta tingkat kematiannya 11.000-an per hari, kini Omicron sudah menewaskan sekitar 12.000-an per hari. Data epidemiologi terbaru menunjukkan peningkatan infeksi pesat di Eropa, mayoritas akibat Omicron. Pada September 2021, lebih dari sejuta kasus penularan baru per minggu, tetapi pada minggu pertama Januari 2022 menjadi lebih dari tujuh juta kasus per minggu, meningkat tujuh kali lipat. Kini seluruh Eropa menderita penularan yang cepat, bahkan Perancis, Inggris, dan Rusia melampaui 100.000 kasus per hari.

Learning from New Variant Breaking into the Country's Gates

If the government is serious about tightening the mobility of citizens, the entry gate for foreign nationals should also be strictly guarded. Because, through the country's gate, a new variant of the virus from abroad enters. The "half-hearted lockdown" policy must face the harsh reality. When the implementation of the emergency community activity restrictions (PPKM) was almost over, the Covid-19 rampage was even more intense. The optimism of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, who was appointed by President Jokowi as the commander to lead this special mission to deal with the second wave of Covid-19, was wrong. Instead of gently sloping towards the target of below 10,000 cases of transmission per day, it skyrocketed beyond 50,000. On July 15, 2021, the daily number of positive cases was 56,757 and 982 cases died. In fact, when the emergency PPKM began to be implemented on July 3, 2021, there were "new" 27,913 cases and 493 deaths. More than double!

Stop Accidental Herd Immunity

  'God's SELECTION. God is choosing. Who continues to live and who is considered enough'. This is the last post of Bambang Purwoko, a lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and the Head of the UGM Papua Task Force on his Facebook page, Sunday (4/7/2021), who was all at that time. Ten days later, Mr. Bambang died. Hopefully he had died with blessing (husnul khatimah). Previously, the deceased had posted his worries. 'Anomaly? The epidemic is getting worse, but the streets and public places are getting livelier.” That is the reflection of Mr. Purwoko before he died, which is very appropriate in describing the conditions in mid-2021. The posts aptly reflected this mid-2021 crisis. The second wave of Covid-19 that has plagued our country had to be controlled. President Jokowi had imposed an emergency community activity restriction (PPKM) on July 3-20 2021 and extended it until July 25, 2021, and had been extended again until August 2, 2021. When the emergency PPKM began, the daily additional rate was 27,913 people. The President's target was that the cases would fall below 10 thousand people per day.

Organizing the Reason of Pandemic Management

Our nation is one of those who easily become sensitive, especially to things related to the Covid-19 pandemic. They were frustrated because they were forbidden to travel inland (mudik), but they broke through the ban on inland traveling. The result was a tremendous explosion of Covid-19 cases. The government also pulled the 'hand brake' with the implementation of emergency community activity restrictions (PPKM) at that time. The explosion was compounded by the 'foreign factor', the delta variant from India. The Central Indonesian Medical Association (Ikatan Dokter Indonesia/IDI), through its Deputy General Chair Slamet Budiarto, said this variant was the main trigger for the current bad situation. This variant was brought by foreigners or Indonesians who returned home because the country's gates were not closed while the people were prohibited from traveling inland between regions. The combination of the factors of inland-traveling break-ins and foreign variants had proven to be deadly.