Jinshan Hong – Indonesia's daily Covid-19 case count has passed Brazil's to become the worst in the world, hitting a record 56,757 on Thursday as the highly-contagious delta variant rampages through the nation.
Infections topped 40,000 for five straight days through Friday, a striking increase from less than 10,000 a month ago, and as many as 1,205 people died from the disease in the last 24 hours.
The grim tally comes after Indonesia this week surpassed the numbers in India, where daily cases have dropped from a peak of over 400,000 in May. Brazil's new infections fell below 53,000 on Thursday.
Indonesia – the world's fourth-most populous country – has reported more than 2.7 million cases and 70,192 deaths overall. The U.S. has the worst numbers as a whole, with nearly 34 million cases and over 608,000 deaths.
The crisis in Indonesia underscores how a lack of access to vaccines is leaving developing countries vulnerable while others reopen and try to normalize. Indonesia has administered vaccines to cover just 11% of its population, compared with 48% in the European Union and 53% in the U.S., Bloomberg's Vaccine Tracker shows. That low percentage means the spike in cases is being closely followed by a surge in fatalities. In many developed economies, the link between infections and deaths has been largely severed by widespread vaccination.
Indonesia is speeding up vaccinations, hoping to achieve herd immunity when 70% of its population of about 270 million is inoculated. While a record 2.4 million doses were administered Wednesday, Indonesia's daily average for July has hovered at less than 850,000 shots, below its 1-million target. The government wants to raise that to 2 million in August and then 2.5 million.
Deaths in the wider Southeast Asia region surged 39% in the week through Wednesday, faster than anywhere else in the world, and will likely continue to climb.