On May 17, 2022, President Joko Widodo made an official announcement that the government has relaxed the mask mandate policy that has been in place since 2020. This was a historic day because, for the first time in the past two years, people are finally allowed to not wear any masks outdoors, as long as they are not in any crowded areas.
This decision was made following the consideration that Indonesia has managed to successfully keep COVID-19 under control through its implementation of public health protocol and the ongoing national COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
With reports of COVID-19 cases consistently being at an all-time low over the last few weeks, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has even mentioned programs to transition COVID-19 from a pandemic into an endemic situation.
However, what does this mean? How will this transition of COVID-19 into an endemic impact you? To answer these questions, Puri Medical Clinic is here to share 3 things you need to know about what endemic is all about.
Understanding Endemic vs Epidemic vs Pandemic
First things first, knowing is half the battle. Understanding the difference between endemic, epidemic, and pandemic, it is very important for us to first know what these words mean.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an epidemic simply means an unexpected increase of diseases case in a particular area. However, an epidemic does not necessarily have to be tied to the spread of a particular contagious or dangerous disease. An epidemic can also describe the rise of certain health-related behavior or cases that arise in a community in a specific area.
In comparison, a pandemic could be simply understood as a scarier version of an epidemic. This means that when an epidemic spread rapidly beyond a specific geographical area and starts affecting wide areas, such as various populations in many countries, global health institutions like the World Health Organization may declare that an epidemic has become a pandemic.
But what happens when a particular disease does not disappear and is constantly present in a specific society? In that case, a disease may become endemic. Some examples of endemic diseases could be as simple as the common cold, while others could be as deadly as malaria or polio. Regardless, this means that while society might not be able to completely erase a particular disease, any epidemic or pandemic could become an endemic the moment a society can adapt to live along with the disease and manage its spread to a predictable level.
Back to Normal? – Endemic and Future of COVID-19 in Indonesia
As of June 2022, more than 200 million people in Indonesia have been vaccinated at least once out of the targeted 208 million recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines according to the Indonesian Health Ministry (Kemenkes) National COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard.
This is very good news for Indonesia because as more people get vaccinated, people will be more immune to the disease. While vaccination itself does not eliminate the chance of infection, it will significantly reduce the risk of people from hospitalization or even death if they do get infected.
You may be keen to read Should I Take Booster Vaccine against COVID-19? Yes, And Here Is Why
In any case, as our society eventually become resilient against this virus, COVID-19 could one day even be treated as a normal endemic like a common cold. Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, shares this view. He made a statement that COVID-19 will be treated just like any other infectious disease when it is declared as an endemic, even if the disease will still be around indefinitely.
Simply put, when COVID-19 is successfully controlled as an endemic – transforming our ‘new normal’ into just ‘normal’ is a future we can all look forward to. However, we must not forget that even if COVID-19 spread or impact becomes manageable, it is still a disease that could lead to potential death if not adequately treated, even for those who are vaccinated.
3 Things You Still Need to Do If COVID-19 Becomes Endemic
While the prospect of COVID-19 turning into an endemic as it becomes more manageable might seem like a good thing, this does not mean that we should treat COVID-19 as if it is harmless. We still need to remember that this is the same disease that has infected more than 500 million people and killed more than 6 million people worldwide.
Therefore, here are 3 things you should still do to maintain your health even if COVID-19 becomes an endemic:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the best aspects of public health protocols against COVID-19 is that it teaches the public to promote a healthy lifestyle and build hygienic habits. Changing our consumption into a healthier diet helps us build our bodily immunity and building habits like wearing masks in public or washing our hands and taking regular baths after going outside are some very simple, yet powerful deterrence against many diseases, COVID-19 included.
- Seek medical attention. Another thing about COVID-19 is that it has led to many people being conscious of the importance of seeking medical attention. In the beginning, many people underestimated or mistook COVID-19 as a common fever or flu and this ended up costing many lives. That is why we need to understand that seeking medical attention as soon as possible is the best way to respond to anyone that caught a disease, COVID-19 or not before it becomes worse.
- Get vaccinated. Lastly, if you have not been vaccinated yet, then you should really get your COVID-19 vaccine while you still can. Vaccination is one of the best and most efficient ways to build your immunity against COVID-19 and prevent it from growing severe if you do get infected. And if you are fully vaccinated, you should still take booster vaccines to strengthen your immunity against the disease. After all, it is better safe than sorry, and what better way to protect yourself from severe COVID-19 impacts than by taking proper preventive actions.
As the world enters is second year after COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic, many efforts to curb its impact has been done all over the world.
For Indonesia, ongoing vaccination program and implementation of public health protocol has been relatively successful in consistently reducing COVID-19 spread to low rates. In fact, there are talks from the Indonesian government officials that COVID-19 may soon become a manageable disease even if it may still be around indefinitely – turning this pandemic into an endemic.
However, there are differences between endemic, epidemic, and pandemic and it is important for people to know what each of these medical terms means and not confuse one with the other.
In any case, if governments declare COVID-19 as an endemic, this means that the disease would be treated as if it was just another common infectious disease. Although, it is crucial that we remember that this will not make COVID-19 a harmless disease.
Thus, we would still need to keep maintaining a healthy lifestyle, be willing to seek medical attention whenever we needed, and take preventive actions by taking vaccines.
Puri Medical Clinic – Your Trusted Health Solution in Bali
At Puri Medical Clinic, we are driven to serve your health with excellence. Since its founding in 2012, we have a solid reputation for providing rapid and reliable medical services to tourists and residents in need of medical attention. We accept all major, travel / medical insurance policies and we are actively providing our services in the whole Kuta area, especially Canggu, Umalas, Batu Belig, Seminyak, and Kerobokan.
If you are seeking medical assistance or immediate consultation with our medical specialists, you can contact us today through our number +(62)851-0010-3103 or our email [email protected]