YOU MAY wish to go hunting for Easter eggs or participate in a big family outing or gathering this weekend – but first consider Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s warning issued on Thursday.
Noting reports on that day of three additional covid19 deaths and 46 new cases, Mr Deyalsingh said there was urgent need to exercise restraint.
“If we extrapolate those numbers into the future without doing something now, the situation will become something untenable,” the minister said at a ministry media briefing. “Cases will mount in the hundreds.”
The Government on that day reimposed restrictions on indoor and outdoor recreational team sports. Such activities are popular over weekends and especially long holidays.
However, doing that alone is unlikely to stem the tide.
At the same briefing on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram made a telling observation.
“It is no one thing in the population causing the increase in cases,” Dr Parasram said. “It seems to be a relaxation in guidelines.”
This suggests a widespread breakdown in the overall response, a breakdown evident from scenes of people liming at their leisure outside "restricted" bars, drinks in hand. The Government needs to do more.
The Prime Minister says he is “very concerned” over what could soon become a crisis, yet has adopted a wait-and-see approach at odds with his own assessment.
“The situation at this point is not an alarm,” Dr Rowley said on Thursday, when asked why beaches have not been closed. “It allows us to keep doing certain things and monitoring them. If it turns out that this is working against our objective, then we may have to take those actions…We allow a certain amount of exposure while not allowing all exposure.”
This approach might have been tenable a year ago, when much was unknown about this pandemic or how long it might last.
Now, however, we know enough to take more proactive action. For example, a spike in cases earlier this year was linked to seasonal Christmas activity. It is a little leap to expect a similar spike after this holiday period.
It is distressing, too, that because of vaccine acquisition failure we are no less vulnerable than we were a year ago. The 33,600 vaccines that arrived this week will cover at most 16,800 people. There are roughly 17,000 healthcare workers alone and 40,950 high-risk patients next in line after them. In other words, it is almost as though we are at square one where vaccines are concerned.
Not only have parks and beaches remained open, some facilities have specifically been readied in time for the weekend. Confusingly, the Health Minister has warned people not to congregate, but has also said, “Go to the beaches, but be careful.”
We go further than Mr Deyalsingh. We say: consider not going out at all.