As Indonesia continues to report hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily, the government appears to be preparing for the “new normal” by allowing people aged 44 years and below to work outside their homes despite mobility restrictions to contain the epidemic.COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo triggered criticism after he said last week that the age group in question had a lower fatality rate at 15 percent and was less vulnerable than the elderly. Even so, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir issued a circular days later, setting out an example of a “new normal” scenario that entails a plan to allow SOE employees under 45 years of age to return to their offices starting on May 25, albeit with several precautions. The above figures do not include hundreds of fatalities among suspected patients reported by local administrations.Soedarsono, the senior pulmonologist and the head of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases at the COVID-19 referral hospital Dr. Soetomo in Surabaya, East Java, said fatalities were indeed more common among the elderly with comorbidity factors, but there had also been cases of young adults with such factors succumbing to the disease.”Young patients aged between 30 and 40 years have died as well, mostly because of underlying health conditions. Young people without such conditions have a higher chance of recovering. The most common conditions are hypertension, heart disease and diabetes,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Read also: COVID-19: Govt to allow people under 45 to work outside to prevent more layoffsSome patients with such conditions might develop complications, and treating these complications was often difficult even after they were cleared of the virus, Soedarsono said.The task force’s data collected from 585 patients show that half of them had underlying conditions, such as hypertension (52.9 percent), diabetes (33.8 percent) or heart disease (20.5 percent). Others include pulmonary and respiratory diseases, cancer, asthma, immune disorders, liver disease and tuberculosis.Around 20.9 percent of the patients with hypertension died, while the death rate for those with diabetes is 15.9 percent, for those with heart disease is 10.1 percent and for those with other conditions in question is below 5 percent.Noncommunicable diseases account for the largest burden on Indonesia’s deficit-stricken National Health Insurance (JKN) — being the cause of 66 percent of morbidity and mortality in 2015, up from about 37 percent in 1990, according to a 2016 World Bank report.While the prevalence of the noncommunicable diseases is indeed higher among the elderly than other age groups, as shown by the 2018 Basic Health Survey (Riskesdas), a growing number of younger people are suffering from such diseases. They were at a heightened risk when exposed to the coronavirus, said epidemiologist Dicky Budiman.Read also: ‘Puskesmas’ move up to COVID-19 front lines amid overburdened health systemThe Riskesdas shows that the prevalence of hypertension in the 35-44 age group is 31.6 percent, in the 25-34 age group it is 20.1 percent and in the 18-24 age group it is 13.2 percent. The prevalence of diabetes and heart disease among the 35-44-year olds is 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.”The government’s policy to allow people [below] 45 years to work should not apply generally to everyone in that age group. Not everyone in the age group will be safe [if infected],” Dicky said.The stigma surrounding COVID-19, which was “almost worse than with HIV”, coupled with inadequate testing, would likely affect how people sought help, forcing them to only show up at hospitals when it was already too late to treat them, he said.Indonesia has seen 1,148 fatalities in less than three months since it recorded the first two confirmed cases in early March. The tally of confirmed cases rose to 17,514 nationwide on Sunday.Pulmonologist Soedarsono said he believed there were many undetected cases, given the considerably high fatality rate. He cautioned against complacency among young people as even medical professionals still had much to learn about the new virus.He said his teaching hospital was beginning to study possible blood clotting in COVID-19 patients, including in younger people, after studies in several countries found that some patients had developed dangerous blood clots.”With COVID-19 patients, oftentimes there’s incompatibility between patients’ complaints and analyses of lungs, thorax or blood tests. This sometimes makes doctors wonder,” he said.Topics : Data updated daily by the task force show that people aged 60 and above account for 44.2 percent of the deaths as of Sunday, followed by people aged between 46 and 59 years old at 39.8 percent, while those aged 45 and below make up the remaining 16 percent.This is despite data on the distribution of cases showing that the 60-and-above age group only accounts for 16.2 percent of total infections, while the 46-to-59 group accounts for 28.7 percent and those aged 45 and below contribute the majority at 55.1 percent.The task force said no clear age information was available for 9.3 percent of the infected patients.
Poll panditsBJP president Amit Shah is fine-tuning his electoral strategy for the Uttar Pradesh elections early next year. The new plan is to reach out to voters through priests of the prominent Hindu temples in the state. Shah has directed the UP unit of the party to collect the names,,Poll panditsBJP president Amit Shah is fine-tuning his electoral strategy for the Uttar Pradesh elections early next year. The new plan is to reach out to voters through priests of the prominent Hindu temples in the state. Shah has directed the UP unit of the party to collect the names, numbers and addresses of priests of major temples in each of the state’s 75 districts. The data is to be submitted to the BJP Lucknow office. The hope is that the pandits will pass the message along with the prasad to devotees during the elections. There’s no doubt any more that the BJP is in election mode-party vehicles have been instructed to sport ‘Na gunda raj, na bhrashtachaar, abki baar Bhajapa sarkar’ bumper stickers.Trading placesPresident Pranab Mukherjee will start his May 24 China visit in Guangzhou, the country’s manufacturing capital and not in Beijing, as is usually the norm. The focus is a business summit with China’s biggest state-run firms. While presidential visits are often as much about pomp, China is keen to show outcomes. Delhi, meanwhile, hopes to push investment ties with a wealthy province that accounts for a quarter of the $71 billion two-way trade.Foreign handThe BJP state leadership in Uttarakhand is upset with the failed attempt to dethrone Harish Rawat’s government. Fingers are being pointed at the external hand behind the failed operation, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, the leader from MP who reportedly conducted ‘operation topple’ without keeping the state unit in the loop.advertisementMuted anniversary Photo: Chandradeep Kumar The BJP has decided on low-key second anniversary celebrations after its ‘Saal ek shuruaat anek’ PR overdrive last year. The party is calling its second-year spin, ‘Transforming India’, but suggestions for a major extravaganza at India Gate did not find favour with the bureaucracy. They advised against celebrations when large parts of the country are reeling under a drought. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised individual ministers to speak of their, and the NDA government’s, achievements on Doordarshan and through social media.Self promotionAndhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has all but erased the name of his father-in-law and TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao. New government welfare schemes are now named after Naidu. The latest, Chandranna Vidya Deepam, which coaches students for IITs, was launched by Naidu himself on May 16. TDP leaders are miffed, but with a cabinet reshuffle on the cards, no one’s playing it up.The NCC mess Photo: Yasbant Negi The National Cadet Corps headquarters in Delhi was shocked recently when cadets returning from an exchange programme to Nepal rated facilities there better than in India. No surprise really. Senior officers say the corps has not procured uniforms for the nearly 13 lakh cadets since 2011 because a central contract has been delayed. This has forced local units to buy uniforms with their own resources. Training equipment too has been neglected-none of the NCC’s 250 para sails are operational as is the case with large numbers of whitewater rafts and microlight aircraft.Smartphone swipedUnion labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya went into a tizzy after his smartphone was stolen at his Ramnagar home in Hyderabad. The phone with Dattatreya’s numbers and personal data was stolen from the visitors’ area. Worse, surveillance cameras at the house were not working so the police are at a dead end. They are now tracking the phone’s IMEI number to catch the thief.Mother’s Day Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben, 93, recently spent five days with her son at his 7, Race Course Road residence. It was her first visit after he was sworn in as PM in May 2014. Modi took her around the 7, RCR garden each morning, part of the ‘quality time’ he later tweeted about. After she left, Modi reportedly told an aide that he wanted Heeraben to stay on permanently but felt he wouldn’t be able to do enough for her. Quality time is clearly a rare commodity for him.Drop by dropBihar BJP boss Sushil Modi faced 20 call drops on his way to Siwan on May 14 (a peeved Modi had asked his PA to count the number). As it happens, Modi’s phone connection is from BSNL, a department of his colleague, Ravi Shankar Prasad.Free for all by Anup Roy Home boysMoS for home Ranjit Patil may seem an obvious choice to represent Maharashtra at the UN anti-terror meet in Turkey later this month. Only it’s the other MoS for home, Ram Shinde, who does most of the department’s firefighting. Is CM Devendra Fadnavis being partial to netas from home turf Vidarbha?advertisementThe week inBeni Prasad Verma’s dreams”The last dream of my life is to make Rahul Gandhi prime minister of India.”As Congress candidate for Gonda LS seat, May 2014″My dream is to make Akhilesh Yadav chief minister of UP for a second time.”After joining the Samajwadi Party, May 13, 2016 with Santosh Kumar, Ananth Krishnan, Kiran Tare, Ashish Misra, Amarnath K. Menon, Anshuman Tiwari, Amitabh Srivastava and Uday Mahurkar.