Covid19 kills 100 in Tobago

Sherma Greig, the widow of Tobago's first covid19 victim Bernard Greig, 70, at her Moriah home in April. -
Sherma Greig, the widow of Tobago's first covid19 victim Bernard Greig, 70, at her Moriah home in April. -

SEVENTEEN months after the World Health Organization declared covid19 a pandemic, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development reported on Wednesday that 100 people in Tobago have died from the virus.

In a statement, the division said the latest fatality is a 45-year-old woman with comorbidities.

Tobago’s first covid19 fatality was a man in his eighties, who died on April 5, 2020 (Palm Sunday) and was buried the same day at the Buccoo public cemetery.

Saying Tobago now has five new covid19 cases and 298 active cases, the division reported on Wednesday the island has 28 patients in state isolation, 268 in home isolation and two in ICU. Fifteen people have been discharged.

It said to date a total of 16,489 people have been tested for covid19 in Tobago. Of that number 3,228 have tested positive for the virus. There are 2,830 recovered patients.

The division said to date 22, 377 people on the island have been partially vaccinated while 20, 424 are fully vaccinated.

At the division’s virtual heath briefing on Tuesday, on the eve of Tobago’s 100th covid19-related death, Secretary of Health Tracy Davidson-Celestine renewed her appeal for people to be vaccinated to prevent serious illness and even death.

Acknowledging many still have concerns, Davidson-Celestine urged Tobagonians to heed the division’s call to be vaccinated.

“The science has proven itself. Over four billion have been fully vaccinated and we have had no major significant instances where persons have died as a result of taking the vaccine. The science is very clear...”

Rachael Rollocks, one of the victims of covid19 in Tobago. -

Davidson-Celestine, who extended condolences to the families of covid19 fatalities, noted a significant portion of those who have died were unvaccinated.

“If we are to follow the research. If we are to follow the science, it is very clear, those who have died so far are persons who have not heeded or responded to the call to become fully vaccinated.”

From the moment vaccines began arriving in the country in February – first AstraZeneca and later Sinopharm – the division has had a challenge in getting Tobago’s adult population vaccinated. The island has a population of 60,000.

Even some frontline healthcare workers, including nurses, did not want to take the vaccine.

Similar to Trinidad, covid19 began to hit home for many people after Easter when thousands of Trinis flocked to Tobago to enjoy the long weekend.

An outbreak of the virus at the ANR Robinson Airport in late May claimed the lives of two Airports Authority employees.

Rachael Rollocks, 34, was one of the airport workers who died, although she had no comorbidities.

"It's sad to know in a split of a second someone gone," her sister Ria Rollocks told Newsday.

A grieving Stephen Crooks, who lost his wife Diana Cupid-Crooks to covid19 on May 18, appealed to people to take the vaccine as it was God's way of helping mankind recover from the pandemic.

On those who are refusing the vaccine, he said, "We begging for the help and when we get help we refuse it. Sad would be your portion. You beg for help, you get help, but still they’re refusing the help – you see how mankind is? A lot of them not looking at it in that way. God sent help for us – the vaccine."

Although there been a significant uptake in vaccinations, hesitancy remains a major challenge, particularly among residents of east Tobago.

Men have expressed fears they could become impotent and unable to have children while some women claim they have experienced irregular menstrual cycles and loss of libido. Some residents have also said the vaccines are the mark of the beast or will magnetise the body, and others have questioned their effectiveness.

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis sought to quell concerns at a press conference, noting he took the vaccine and showed no untoward reaction.

Progressive Democratic Patriots political leader Watson Duke has been heavily critical of the vaccines, claiming they were killing people. Duke had also said he would not take the covid19 vaccine until it was “legitimised, approved or licensed.”

The Prime Minister alluded to the hesitancy during a news conference at his official residence in Blenheim, Tobago, in September.

Dr Rowley said Tobago could have been made a “safe zone” against covid19 but lamented the island has been uncooperative in its response to the campaign to control the covid19 threat.


"Covid19 kills 100 in Tobago"

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