‘Hidden Victims’ Move to the Forefront

2 girls watch as volunteers recover the body of a woman suspected to have died from COVID-19. Yogyakarta, Indonesia, July 22, 2021. Image: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty
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2 girls watch as volunteers recover the body of a woman suspected to have died from COVID-19. Yogyakarta, Indonesia, July 22, 2021. Image: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty

In Indonesia—the new epicenter of the pandemic—children are making up a ballooning share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, challenging the notion that the coronavirus poses little risk to kids.
 
With ICUs already packed with adults, pediatricians are shattered by the sub-par care being given to kids, The New York Times reports.
 
“… people have to wait at the emergency room for days. How do we expect children to go through that?” lamented Indonesian Pediatric Society chief Aman Bhakti Pulungan.
 
How bad is it? 

  • Indonesia has lost 800+ children to the coronavirus—the bulk of them in the past month alone.
  • 150+ children died the week of July 12; half of these recent deaths are under-5s.
  • Children now make up 12.5% of the country’s confirmed cases.

 
The backdrop: Children under 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Indonesia. And once again, the Delta variant combined with limited testing, low vaccination rates (just 6% of Indonesians are fully vaccinated), and complacent citizens are central factors in the struggle.
 
Meanwhile in the UK: Doctors are “begging” young people to get vaccinated as ICU patients trend younger and younger following England’s so-called “freedom day.” Many are otherwise healthy people in their 20s and 30s—but the vast majority are unvaccinated, making preventable deaths inevitable, The Guardian reports.
 
“Please don’t let not having the jab become the biggest mistake of your life,” appealed ICU doctor Samantha Batt-Rawden.
 
A third of 18- to 29-year-olds are yet to receive a single vaccine dose, according to NHS England.
 

Related:

Indonesia extends COVID curbs by a week as hospitals deluged – Al Jazeera
 
COVID-19 sufferers in Indonesian capital rent oxygen cylinders – Reuters

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