Indonesia Gets Grim Boost on Revised COVID Info Dashboard

John Bechtel and Ika Inggas
Washington
2021-08-13
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Indonesia Gets Grim Boost on Revised COVID Info Dashboard Men carry the coffin of a COVID-19 victim for burial in a cemetery in Bandung, Indonesia, Aug. 12, 2021.
AFP

A widely consulted COVID-19 information dashboard that was revised this week to show rolling totals for the past 28 days has catapulted Indonesia into third place behind the United States and India on its list of the world’s most affected countries.

Meanwhile, Indonesia topped the global list of coronavirus deaths over the same period on the revised dashboard. Home to about 270 million people, Indonesia recorded 43,472 fatalities in the past 28 days, more than twice India’s total in that time, and nearly four times that of the U.S.

Another statistic highlighted by the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard: more than a quarter of Indonesia’s total infections since the start of the pandemic were recorded in the last four weeks. As of Friday, during the past 28 days Indonesia had reported 1,047,352 new cases, India 1,090,997, and the United States 2,333,082.

Disease experts at the U.S.-based university changed the display of the well-regarded Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard to show 28-day figures, instead of cumulative totals, on Tuesday, spokeswoman Jill Rosen told BenarNews.

Before the change, the U.S. and India had topped the chart for months, followed by Brazil, but Indonesia had hovered around 16th place.

The information summarized in stark visual form what Indonesian health authorities have been reporting in recent weeks: elevated daily cases and record numbers of deaths.

In mid-July, Indonesia surpassed India as the epicenter for COVID in Asia, due to higher daily infections than the South Asian country at that time. Indonesia hit a peak of more than 56,000 on July 15, although numbers have since declined and are hovering closer to 30,000 daily.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo gave leeway to small businesses in late July to operate at limited capacity, leading a health expert to question the move.

Easing restrictions “isn’t an appropriate move because epidemiologically, the situation is not yet under control,” Hermawan Saputra, a member of the Indonesian Public Health Expert Association (IAKMI), told BenarNews on July 26.

Neighboring Southeast Asian nations moved up the chart as well. Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, along with Bangladesh in South Asia, are among the 21 highest rated nations.

Thailand, which has recorded only about 863,000 infections since the pandemic began, but recorded more than half of those cases in the last four weeks, pushing its ranking to 11.

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