The Human Cost of COVID-19

  • Photographer
    Joshua Irwandi
  • Prize
    Honorable Mention
  • Jury Top 5 Selection

    Susan White

    Michael Zajakowski If one image of the COVID-19 pandemic may be considered iconic or representative of the entire tragedy, let it be this image from Indonesia. Taken in the summer of 2020 at the height of the pandemic’s rampage, this image of a single human body encompasses a world of sadness and despair. The wrapping of the body harkens to ancient Egypt, but the hospital setting and the extraordinary measure taken by advanced medicine reveal how powerless we have been in the face of a devastating pandemic. Great photojournalism often boils down to the effect of world events have on a single human life, and this is a perfect example.

  • Company/Studios
    Joshua Irwandi
  • Date of Photograph
    18 April 2020
  • Technical Info
    1/125 sec at f/2.8, ISO 1250, Nikon D4 35mm Full Frame

The body of a suspected coronavirus victim, wrapped in yellow infectious waste plastic bags and wrappers, lies on the patient's deathbed awaiting a body bag in a hospital in Indonesia. The wrapping of the patient, which takes two nurses a full hour to complete through three layers of plastic and nine times of disinfection, is intended to suppress the spread of coronavirus. As mandated by the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the wrapping of the body is a standard procedure for every suspected, comorbid, and positive confirmed COVID-19 death. This process continues until today.

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