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COVID-19 cases may rise by 70,000-400,000 in 3rd wave, says task force

Tempo - November 30, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – A third wave of COVID-19 during the year-end holidays could see the number of cases reaching 70,000 in a moderate scenario and 400,000 in the worst-case scenario.

Head of the data and IT division of the COVID-19 Handling Task Force Dr. Dewi Nur Aisyah made the prediction during an online press conference on the "Analysis of the 3rd Wave of COVID-19 in Indonesia" on Monday.

The prediction regarding the potential increases in cases was made with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) by using data and variables related to COVID-19 handling in Indonesia, she informed.

In an ideal scenario, using the variable where herd immunity has been formed, people's mobility is relatively low, there is strict implementation of health protocols, and there are no new variants, active cases are predicted to continue to decline until the beginning of 2022, she said.

However, this scenario has been eliminated since the new variant of Omicron has emerged and herd immunity is not expected to be established in December 2021, Aisyah added.

The second scenario shows the potential for active cases peaking to around 70 thousand, with herd immunity not formed, high population mobility, and good community adherence to health protocols, she said.

"We have not formed herd immunity because we have not achieved vaccination target by 70 percent in December 2021. Our people mobility is quite high, but our health protocols implementation is also good. With this scenario, we might have 70,000 new cases," she explained.

The third scenario predicts 260 thousand new cases if group immunity is not formed, public mobility is high, and there is negligence in health protocol implementation, she said.

The gap between the peak predicted for the third wave and the second wave is quite wide, with the difference pegged at 200 thousand cases, Aisyah said. The level of health protocol compliance will play a major role in the case tally, she added.

Therefore, she urged the public to remain disciplined in implementing the health protocols to prevent a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, in the worst-case scenario, she predicted that Indonesia would have 400 thousand new cases if herd immunity is not established, community mobility is high, health protocol implementation is low, and a new variant appears which is 40 percent to 50 percent more infectious than the previous one.

However, any potential spike in active cases in the third wave is expected to remain lower than that witnessed in mid-2021, she said. This is due to the wide coverage of COVID-19 vaccinations in the community compared to the middle of 2021, she explained.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1534098/covid-19-cases-may-rise-by-70000-400000-in-3rd-wave-says-task-forc