Imagine a place full of dead bodies where no one comes to claim the corpses. Taufiq Hidayat is a leader of a dozen volunteer undertakers who answer calls from devastated families in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. Jakarta is known for having one of the world’s largest Covid-19 outbreaks, and as the days pass by, the numbers aren’t willing to decrease. CNN writes, “The number of calls has eased since the peak of Indonesia’s second wave in mid-July, but there are still reports of people dying at home, despite new capacity in the country’s hospitals and isolation centers, where thousands of beds are sitting empty.
So far in August, almost 50 people died from Covid-19. The numbers suddenly escalated during July to around 2,400, which was around six times more than the death number in June. Fariz Iban, who recorded this data, calls these numbers just “the tip of the iceberg.” What he means is that many deaths are not recorded. Indonesia’s Health Ministry doesn’t keep records on the number of people who die at home, said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a ministry spokesperson. If a patient was having mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, they were not taken to the hospital. The hospital was meant for only the patients who had severe illnesses. CNN writes, “the Indonesian Medical Association is urging the government to change its policy, saying home isolation has deprived some patients of medical care and the lack of supervision is helping the virus to spread”.
As the Delta variant creeped in on many countries, hospitals were suddenly overwhelmed, including Indonesian hospitals. This made changing the policy more difficult, as more patients came in with worse symptoms. Even though those who are symptomatic were told to stay home, it was hard for those really sick to find a hospital bed. For example, Warsa Tirta had to choose which family member got to go to the hospital and receive treatment. His son in law, Fakhri Yusuf said that Warsa was told to stay at home, but during his home isolation, Fakhri’s mother and two sisters also became infected. “I tried to register them all to Covid Emergency Hospital, but they only can accept one person,” said Fakhri. “All beds in the hospital were fully occupied. So we decided to send my sister (to hospital).” Warsa died on July 6.
CNN states “Taufiq says his day starts with a prayer for his and his team’s safety — and ends with one for those who succumb to the virus.” The pandemic has ruined so many of our lives and now, we can only hope for the best.