THERE is good news and bad news in the fight against COVID-19.
First, unfortunately, the bad news. Yesterday saw yet another surge in cases in The Bahamas, with 65 in one day. While Grand Bahama has been experiencing the most cases recently, New Providence saw 29 confirmed cases yesterday, eight more than Grand Bahama. Family Islands are not spared either – with cases in Guana Cay, Moore’s Island and Abaco.
Make no mistake, we are in the thick of it now. This is what our medical experts have been warning about from the start – a spike in cases, with fears that might overwhelm our medical facilities. At present, there are 343 active cases, with 12 people in hospital. We must pray that number does not rise to a level where decisions have to be made over who gets priority for treatment.
This is also what has been warned about in terms of the false choice between health and economy – with a surge in cases, there is no return to tourism in a hurry. We can open our borders again, but who will come in during rising cases, quarantines and lockdowns?
That’s the bad news. So where is the good?
We may be in a hole now – but we’ve been here before, and we know the way out. The actions we took before brought COVID-19 to a halt in our country, and we can do it again. Better still, we know the drill by now. What should you do? Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay physically distant from others, only go out if you need to. Sound familiar? It ought to be by now.
We know people are fed up of being stuck indoors – but each gathering puts people at risk of spreading the virus. A single family gathering earlier this month in North Carolina led to 41 people being infected with the virus. Another man in Dallas who thought the virus was a hoax wrote this week about how a family get-together led to 14 members of the same family getting infected – with one dead and another on life support.
All this takes is discipline. Weekend lockdowns are back, so let’s hunker down and give the virus nowhere to go.
The medical experts have told us what we need to do. Now it’s time to play our part.
There is more good news, with word of vaccines entering the next phase of testing – but that’s the long-term solution. The short-term solution is in our hands – so let’s grasp it.
Behind the scenes of wedding decision
When it was announced that two weddings – one in Harbour Island and one in New Providence – had been allowed to proceed with more than five people present, there was little detail explaining how those two had been given the go-ahead.
The Harbour Island one has been widely criticised after pictures of people breaking social distancing rules were circulated on social media.
The New Providence wedding, it turns out, went ahead after an intervention by the leader of the Opposition, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis.
A constituent of his asked for help, and Mr Davis contacted the Prime Minister, who gave approval by text. As it turns out, the wedding went ahead with only five present because confirmation from the Police Commissioner was not received in time, but it is a glimpse behind the scenes of how a connection led to approval being given despite a blanket ban.
To hear Mr Davis tell the tale, he was just a middle man passing the message along, but should the man who wants to lead the nation have been a bit more firm in whether it was right to seek an exemption?
On the Prime Minister’s part, should he have been more thorough in evaluating whether or not the wedding would have proceeded safely before giving his approval?
What makes one ceremony safe and another not – and is this ad hoc method of approving one over the other really the way we are doing things?
Have lessons really been learned since Dr Duane Sands had his resignation as Minister of Health accepted? And the bigger question is this – when we are telling people to avoid large gatherings, what message are we sending out if that ban is only for some people?
We said above that we must be disciplined – that means our leadership too.