New cases of COVID-19 due to the omicron variant increase. The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) has again detected two confirmed patients with the Omicron variant. On Friday, December 17th, 2021, the Ministry of Health of Indonesia confirmed two new confirmed cases of Omicron within Indonesia.
The new variant of COVID-19 Omicron continues to spread in various countries. The virus variant, which was first discovered in southern Africa, has different symptoms from the previous variant.
Prior to Omicron, various COVID-19 variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, MU, and the Delta variant were found, which are currently the most dominant variant after causing a spike in cases in several countries.
How is Indonesia dealing with this new variant?
Based on preliminary estimates by experts, Omicron is potentially more infectious and is thought to have characteristics to avoid vaccines. But on the other hand, the symptoms are mild to moderate. Based on history, the evolution of the virus is getting longer and weaker. Although the characteristics will be more contagious, the symptoms are believed to be getting minimal.
The Indonesian government, however, is highly confident that the current health protocols are preoccupied with dealing with new emerging variants. This is proven by how Indonesia handled the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Delta variant. According to experts and government officials, the key to controlling COVID-19 is cooperation between all stakeholders.
Over the past two years since the pandemic spread, many people were predicting when this would end. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is no exception, who also provides the latest predictions.
He said the pandemic could end in mid-2022. But this is with a note, there are no dangerous variants that appear again in the future.
For Gates, ending the pandemic does not mean eradicating COVID-19 completely. On the other hand, he said, the world could definitely bring it down to a very small number by the end of 2022. By then the COVID-19 infection rate would drop below the seasonal flu level.
The World Health Organization, however, at this stage cannot state Omicron is a mild variant, even if many infections so far have been associated with less severe symptoms or no symptoms at all. There is no conclusive evidence yet on the impact of Omicron on antibody effectiveness. The WHO’s technical advisory group is trying to find out whether a new type of vaccine is needed against Omicron.
Prediction for the third strike in Indonesia
It is not impossible for Indonesia to also experience the third wave. Britain’s deputy chief medical officer said too many people believed the pandemic was over. This is one of the factors that can trigger the emergence of the third wave.
In addition, according to an epidemiologist from Griffith University, the third wave of COVID-19 can be triggered by several things, such as high community mobility, uneven vaccination, many relaxations of health rules and protocols, as well as the potential for mutations of coronavirus variants.
Experts stated that wave 3 of the Indonesian COVID-19 was predicted to come suddenly. The reason is that now in Indonesia, the mobility of citizens is almost back to a pre-pandemic state. According to experts and government officials, this has great potential to become the root of massive transmission in the community.
Meanwhile, according to University of Indonesia (UI) Epidemiologist Pandu Riono, the potential for a third wave of Covid-19 is unlikely to occur. According to him, the third wave of Covid-19 will not occur due to the level of immunity of the population, who have been vaccinated with full doses.
There are countless contradicting new perspectives on the future of this virus in Indonesia. Thus, as responsible members of society, our greatest contribution should be through our major obedience to government protocols and regulations.
Words by: Tamara