The Indonesian government is planning to fix its overall data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths as the country is ramping up massive testing aimed at taking necessary measures to mitigate the pandemic.
The upcoming revised figures will include the numbers of people who died with COVID-19-like symptoms even though they were not yet COVID-19 positive, as well as those suspected with the illness, said Wiku Adisasmito, the head of the expert staff of the country’s COVID-19 task force, on Wednesday (May 6).
“We are in the process of collecting, cleaning and integrating data from [all] provinces and districts,” Wiku said in a virtual press conference, adding that the overall data would be revised soon.
On April 30, Reuters reported that the COVID-19 death numbers in Indonesia were higher than the official figures, based on data from 16 out of Indonesia’s total 34 provinces.
Other countries have revised their death figures
Separately, Belgium has included those who died in hospitals and those who were suspected of having COVID-19 related infection, making its mortality rate the highest per 100,000 people.
Such a method has raised criticism for ruining the country’s reputation.
However, those who support the counting process argued that by including the numbers of deaths at home, the government will boost its anticipative measures.
“If it’s important to be as transparent as possible, you have to get your numbers right,” Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes spoke the Belgian Parliament.
The city of Wuhan — where the outbreak reportedly started — had revised its death figures on 17 April to 3,869, up 50 per cent. The revised positive cases in the city hit 50,333 with additional 325 cases.
“What lies behind epidemic data are the lives and health of the general public, as well as the credibility of the government,” the official at the Wuhan municipal headquarters for the COVID-19 stated, adding that the revision also complied with related regulations and procedures.
The delay in reporting the cases from hospitals has also triggered the revision, like what happened in Wuhan.
As hospitals are overcrowded, not all COVID-19 deaths are reported quickly.
Not all those deaths are directly linked to COVID-19
The Washington Post, in collaboration with the Yale School of Public Health, disclosed that the actual numbers of deaths in the U.S from March 1 to April 4 could reach 15,400 higher than the government’s figures of 8,128.
The research claimed that some of the people may have died not because of the COVID-19 illness but because of pre-existing conditions which they did not seek treatment for.
Aya, a Jakarta-based housewife, told TOC that her best friend was tested positive for COVID-19 but had later died from underlying diseases.”She was declared COVID-19 negative a few days before her passing. But, hypertension and diabetes may have worsened her condition.
“Back then, she was almost admitted to one of the hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 patients, but the hospital had been overcrowded,” the 45-year-old woman said about her friend who died a week ago.
Those who died before the result was knownA doctor in North Jakarta had passed away from COVID-19-related symptoms. However, she was not COVID-19 positive yet as the swab test was still unknown after her death.
A North Jakarta resident, whose cousin died from COVID-19 after being diagnosed with other illnesses, told TOC that the deceased was initially diagnosed with typhoid fever.
“My cousin in Bekasi died from COVID-19. I don’t know how he was exposed to the virus. But, his first diagnose was typhoid fever before he was taken to the Infectious Disease Hospital Sulianti Saroso (RSPI).
“The test results came too late, I think,” she told TOC.