Everyone, including me at one point, seems to be an expert in Coronavirus.  The majority of FB posts and comments seem to be confrontational, judgemental or rather opinionated.  Of course, it’s fascinating, it’s worrying and it’s human nature to research this information.  Over the last few days I have followed Tony Robbin’s advice and tried to be the gatekeeper of my own mind, otherwise the information becomes overwhelming.  I decide what I read and how I spend my time, I do not let the news, or WhatsApp messages dictate my day.

The first thing I’ve noticed is, and rightly so, that people are scared.  I’ve found that generally in response to this, you have a fear response, or a reasonable response, or sometimes a totally lackadaisical response.  The problem with the “fear” response is that anyone living in total fear or anxiety of the virus (if it is a virus) seem to pull news articles and stories that construe a heightened sense of danger.   Many friends are in this camp and I can’t blame them, the media is making our situation appear apocalyptic.  But if this band of friends hear somewhere that a young person died and that a huge % of people in a particular ICU are young, to them, everyone that is dying is young.  I’ve noticed this with some of my own friends.  They all have a “friend”, or a friend of a friend who is seriously ill or who has died.  No comorbidities.  Young.  So the fear elicits certain responses in them that enable them to exaggerate the disproportionate truth of the situation.  The truth is yes young and healthy people are dying, but young and healthy people have always been dying, in these numbers.  And yes this is very concerning for the older and less healthy population.  However some good does comes from this, certain young and healthy people who would not otherwise isolate, are now staying away from their grandparents and not spreading to others if they are asymptomatic, which is a good thing.

Anyone can be connected to anyone in the world through 6 degrees of separation.  So you’re friends friends friends friends friends friend is Michael Jackson, and to probably less of a degree than that.  If all 7 billion people on the planet are 6 or fewer social connections away from each other then it shouldn’t take too long to spread.

Now let’s take Indonesia, a population of 270 million people, a similar size to the population of the US.  In Bali alone with a population of 4.5m, almost 1.3 million Chinese visit Bali every year.  391,000 Chinese visit the UK every year, yet right now the UK is being hit with 400 deaths per day, and Indonesia 10 deaths per day ?  That is 45x more Chinese visitors to every Balinese person, compared to the UK.  The virus may not have come from China, who knows (I certainly have no idea).

Firstly let’s look at some facts.  The average age in Indonesia is 28.5, the average age in the UK is 40.  Only 7% of the Indonesian population are over 65, compared to 18% in the UK.  So Indonesia has a much younger population.

Did you know that 76% of Indonesians smoke ?  I am not here to give anyone advice, or to tell anyone what to do or make predictions.  Tell me what you think..  The Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock said smoking greatly increases the risk of Covid as well as the Chief Medical Officer (hashtag QuitforCovid).  I know firsthand my Grandad suffered from bronchitis and pneumonia because he smoked, we see people who smoke heavily coughing and we know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer and infection in the lungs.  However, I have been reading Michael John’s work explaining that natural tobacco, without all the toxins of cigarettes acutely increases glutathione levels in the lungs which would actually protect people from the Coronavirus.

So if 1.3m Chinese visit Bali each year and only 400k visit the UK, why is the UK seeing increased numbers and Bali only has 25 cases as of today, 3rd April 2020 ?  Is it because they are so young and that they smoke ?  Or is the sun providing a natural source of Vitamin D to increase their immunity and redox ?  Is it lack of air conditioning and increased heat / humidity ?  Or do they have a natural immunity to covid ?  Or is it simply that numbers are not being reported because not enough test kits are available ?

Did you know 60,000 people in the US die very year from the flu, 40,000 die every year in Europe (17,000 in Italy) from the flu, but Indonesians do not seem to have a flu season (although Thailand does around April).

Another thing we need to talk about is transmissibility.  Originally I wondered if Indonesians are not transmitting the virus.  But on 31st March 2020, there were 9 new cases of covid in Bali, doubling from the previous day.  Of those 9 infections, 8 were local Balinese to Balinese infections.  And 3 of those infections came from the same person, this shows Bali can transmit the disease the same as anywhere else at the ratio of 3:1.  Indonesians live in extremely close proximity to one another, they are still attending mass social and religious gatherings, everywhere I drive I see the locals in close proximity to one another, be it at work or play.  One of my close Balinese friends knows the risks associated with attending mass gatherings, but she informed me how upsetting it would be for her family if she didn’t go to her upcoming ceremony.  Who am I to tell her what to do, therefore, still as of 3rd April 2020 the majority of Indonesians are attending mass ceremonies where they are in very close proximity.  BUT they were doing this in January..  And February.  And they have 25 cases ?  Why are huge studies not now taking place in Bali on this ?  To find out if they are immune ?  Or not ?

It is not for me to say that full testing has not taken place in Indonesia, but so far there have been 6,000 reported covid tests in the whole of Indonesia.  In March cremations in Jakarta were up by 40% to over 4,000 deaths, an additional 1,300 deaths in one month, in one capital.

So there is a chance, a huge percentage of the population in Indonesia are already infected with Corona, it’s either that, or they are immune.  Because of the young population and the heat, maybe Bali has seen the worst of covid and it just won’t hit due to the populations high natural immunity and obvious herd immunity.  Perfect…

But let’s look at the numbers, please note these numbers are from the Jakarta Globe and Worldometer so are far from precise, but it’s as good as we can get;

  • In Jakarta alone with a population of 10m, cremations were up by 40% in March to 4,400 meaning roughly an additional 1,760 more people died in the month of March.  Let’s for now, put this down to covid.
  • Out of a population of 270m people in Indonesia, 3% are over 70 so roughly 9m people.  Covid has been here for 3 months so multiply the additional deaths across a 3 month period, this would equate to around 5,000 additional deaths over a 3 month period in Jakarta alone in the over 70 year old population.
  • According to Worldometer, there is an 8% death rate in the over 70’s which would mean 720,000 over 70’s would die in Indonesia.
  • Very crudely if we multiply the infected population of Jakarta’s 10m into 270m to reach the entire population of Indonesia that would be 5,000 deaths over 3 months totalling 135,000 deaths in Indonesia.  And as far as I know, we are not seeing the same death rate across other capitals outside of Jakarta.
  • However, this 135,000 deaths does not equal the 720,000 deaths in the over 70’s across the rest of the world, nor does it include over 60’s or the Indonesian populous with comorbidities.  Because the numbers aren’t a million miles apart, there is a chance that Indonesia has reached >60% infection rate giving them herd immunity.

Now let’s consider the other side.  I hate saying “for some reason” without naming that reason.  Let’s for some reason say that covid hasn’t yet spread in Indonesia.  Most people say that with the number of Chinese in Bali (that’s if the virus did come from China, we can’t be certain of anything yet), covid should be prevalent in Bali.  But what if contracting Corona has something to do with a high viral load ?  I.e you have to be with an infected person (sorry infected person for singling you out), or group of people for a sustained amount of time ?  In Jakarta last week, 7 nurses lost their lives to covid.  Unfortunately my belief is that medical workers are even more susceptible to the perils of Corona because of the high viral load (and possibly multiples strains / mutations of the virus).  So could it be that because the local Balinese rarely travel, there would have been almost zero Balinese in China during the outbreak.  But there would have been a lot of Britains in China during the outbreak, who then flew back to the UK.  Those Brits would have had sustained contact with people in China, the Balinese would not.

Add to this, that literally every expat I know living in Bali is young, fit and healthy.  Myself included, I would go as far to say foreigners living in Bali are not just healthy, but health obsessed.  If you ask any resident who has been in Bali for 6 months or more; what is cold therapy, or what’s a float tank or how long they spend in the sun, or how often they work out, you will be surprised with the results (this partly originates also from a huge Aussie influence).

Of all the expats I’ve spoken to, I would say 30% have been sick in the last 3 months with some form of cough or flu.  None have needed hospitalisation.

Ok so I’m going a long way around this, but let’s just say it hasn’t hit the local Indonesian and Balinese population yet, with only 1,500 reported cases in Indonesia.  You can make your own mind up if these numbers are being under reported, but what is true is that there are a limited number of test kits, so far only 6,000 people have been tested.

What happened to the 1m test kits btw ?

So, let’s take the CDC’s opinion that smoking worsens your risk of Corona, and 76% of Indonesians smoke.  Indonesians aren’t like us Brits, they don’t go to the doctor for a cough or a cold.  Theoretically it’s now spreading through the population, there are an increasing number of cremations across the villages with people dying, and there are not enough test kits.  Indonesia has 310,000 hospital beds for a population of 270 million.  100 million people live on less than $2 per day so they cannot afford to stockpile food, they cannot afford to take time off work.  This is making me seriously concerned for the health of Indonesia.  And why are the locals being cremated not seeking medical assistance, when a covid hospital has been setup in Jimbaran…

If the virus has not hit Indonesia yet, due to such close proximity and the fact they don’t have enough money for Vitamin C supplements (although they do eat a good amount of vegetables) or medicine and the fact that there simply aren’t enough nurses and hospital beds, in 3-6 months time, things could look very bad for Indonesia, so what can we do to prepare ?

Jokowi is a much smarter man than I am, and there are many many smarter people working on this than me.  Jokowi did a great job of contact tracing the initial cases in Bali, among the first few cases he ensured every single contact from hoteliers to taxi drivers were traced.  The consensus between everyone in Bali that I have spoken to, is; it’s not going to hit.  The heat and humidity kills it, which I myself have believed for some time.  There is also a huge spiritual community in Bali who are sure that positive thinking will protect them (when I ask these guys how much water and food they have, the usual answer is a few days worth).  Look at all the worse effected countries, they are all below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Look at the countries above 80 degrees, they are all low hit countries.

BUT, if covid does hit, the country will be more overwhelmed than any other country I can think of.  270m people, 76% of whom smoke, 8,000 ventilators, 310,000 hospital beds in the country and now an 80% reduction in tourist income !  I don’t think the actual viral disease is as physiologically harmful to younger people, but the economic and social impact will be, that’s what I mean when I say “if covid hits”.  What if people aren’t being tested properly, what if the growth rate is slowed, but still sustained, due to the heat.  Or what if the 1,760 increased monthly deaths in Jakarta are the same through every other City and island in Indonesia, making up the 1,700 islands in the archipelago.  Indonesia has 40x less nurses and beds than most European countries.  For now, Indonesia can cope, and with such a huge percentage of people dying in their village and not in a hospital, we need the village heads to propagate this information by testing the most sick people.

So what if Indonesia started to fully prepare for covid to hit, and protected themselves fully against the virus so in the very near future tourist money can start to flow back into the country…

Here is what I feel we should seriously do to prepare (not at an individual level, you all know that);

  • Tesla has just manufactured 15,000 ventilators for the US and (James) Dyson has just manufaactured 10,000 ventilators for the UK (the CoVent specifically built for covid-19).  Can you contact me if you have a contact at Tesla or Dyson to see if we can get a proportion of these ventilators sent to Jakarta…
  • If you are living in Indonesia, please could you take this Facebook poll, which is also going to the Banjar so we can get an idea of infection rates in the community.  Falsely filling this document is a criminal offence and you will be reported to the Indonesian government.
  • This amazing group of people are feeding the poorest families across the villages in Indonesia, please donate 23 USD to feed a family for 2 weeks.  

Donate Here & Feed a Family now 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

International donations: https://www.paypal.me/Adiardika

Alternatively, Transfer your donation directly:
Feed a Family IDR Local Bank Details
BCA SeminyakIDR Account Number - 7700139616
Name of Account - “I Made Adi Ardika”

  • Does anyone have this scuba mask ?  This scuba mask can be converted into a ventilator, and so far 25 ventilators have been made.  If you have this mask please message Jenisa.
  • Of the new 500,000 (or is it 1m) test kits en route to Indonesia, can the Banjar be given the kits to test the most sick people in each village ?

Thanks for listening.

James