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U.S. Covid Spike - We Can Cope

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

AS coronavirus cases skyrocket in the United States, a top local infectious disease expert says The Bahamas can still manage reopening the country without an explosion of COVID-19 cases if protocols are executed properly.

The increase of COVID-19 cases in the US has been worrying enough that some states are now restricting incoming travel from other states.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that anyone coming to New York from a hard-hit state would have to quarantine for two weeks. New Jersey and Connecticut have implemented a similar policy. The policy applies to people coming from Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Meanwhile, guests from around the world will be allowed into The Bahamas starting on July 1, though they will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within ten days of their trip. Some are now questioning whether the government should reverse its decision to reopen the country’s borders. 

Dr Nikkiah Forbes, the government’s infectious disease expert, said yesterday: “When borders are opening and you’re allowing travel during an epidemic, there will be risk of persons travelling with COVID-19. There is no 100 percent way to eliminate risk completely so there has to be steps, including screening, testing, and quarantine if persons are not able to be tested.

“In allowing travellers to come, there will be some degree of risk associated and all you can do is minimise the risk. To be fair, I think these steps by (the Ministry of) Tourism and Aviation in conjunction with (Ministry of) Health, I think these safety measures will considerably reduce the risk.

“Some countries are requiring that people get tested when they arrive in the country. That is not 100 percent of a guarantee either. The PCR test is not 100 percent accurate. Some (countries) are doing no testing and quarantine, some are asking for tests a few days in advance, it’s all rather imperfect.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 1 week ago

Florida is fast running out of hospital beds, they've had over 10,000 cases this week alone. Opening to the US now is just flat out dumb. Government has done well so far keeping this thing under control, opening to the US will negate all of that. Now is not the time to be selling ourselves, now is the time to stand our ground. Europe has banned US travel, Canada has banned US travel. The US has lost control of their situation and their government does not care, all trump is doing is ignoring covid. Keep us closed to the US....

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Dawes 1 week ago

Asking again, what would you do to help all the unemployed people this country will be having if we don't open? We are not able to change our economy around quick enough, so how many people being unemployed is the number you would say ok we should take the risk? If you are worried by all means lock yourself in your house, however allow those of us they need tourists for our income to make our own decision and take the risk if we want.

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tribanon 1 week ago

STOP BEING SO DAMN STUPID! If we re-open now very few tourists will be coming our way, but some of those who do will most assuredly be bringing Covid-19 with them that they contracted after receiving their test but before getting on their plane to The Bahamas. And believe me, it will only take a few Covid-19 infected visitors to ignite a most serious surge in hospitalization cases on New Providence that will surely manifest itself within a couple of weeks after July 1. And just think, once the Bahamas gets a reputation abroad for a high number of Covid-19 related deaths, all bets are then off for other tourists to even think about vacationing in our country for the next few years, if ever at all. There are often very serious unintended consequences for those who foolishly choose to blindly chase the almighty dollar so stop chasing the money and begin thinking about the lives of the elderly and more vulnerable with underlying conditions; otherwise there will be no tourism industry for us down the road. Now is certainly not the time to be stupid or foolish. Don't you know that Florida and many other states in the US are currently ablaze with hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients? Please start thinking sensibility and stop drinking Minnis's foolishly deceitful kool-aid.

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Dawes 1 week ago

And yet again i ask what is your plans for the unemployed in this country? You are effectively saying no tourists until a vaccine, so I assume Atlantis, BahaMar and many others will have no choice but to close until then. So what do you intend to do with 50,000 unemployed, or maybe 70,000 or maybe 100,000. Just hope things will be OK?

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tribanon 1 week ago

You still don't get it......no tourists in great numbers will be coming our way any time soon from anywhere in North America, whether by air or sea. The very few who do come, especially from Florida, will bring Covid-19 with them. Do you really want mass unemployment combined with a huge surge of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations on New Providence? That's a sure fire recipe for uncontrollable anarchy!

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Dawes 1 week ago

There is a good chance that we will see an increase in COVID cases when we open, will that overwhelm us who knows. There is also a chance that we will also have mass unemployment even if we allow tourists, however it is a certainty if we don't. I know which i would choose. When we first shut down we were told it was to flatten the curve and give the clinics a chance to prepare for the next wave. We have given them the time, and now you say no we should close until a vaccine. If thats the case pretty much all companies may as well close, and hope those who want us to stay shut have the money to pay for the nation to be able to eat.

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tribanon 1 week ago

Forget the vaccine....it's plain as day that Europe and other parts of the world are very disciplined in fighting Covid-19 at this time.....North America and the lying sinister and evil Communist Party of Red China are not nearly so similarly discilpined, but for very different reasons. The sensible thing for Minnis to do is keep our borders shut to travel between the US and Canada for a few more months until the 'herd effect' has been accomplished in those two countries. Not doing so means a lot of elderly Bahamians and those with underlying serious medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc., are going to die. The decision here is really a no brainer that even someone like Minnis should be able to figure out!

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Dawes 1 week ago

Those elderly and underlying should isolate until the vaccine then. Europe is seeing a resurgence as they re-open so per your logic no one should be allowed to travel here. OK lets start building the soup line kitchens on a massive scale that will be needed for your plan. Also lets increase VAT to 25% and bring in income tax so Government may have a chance of paying it (though income tax won't bring in as much as not many people will be working).

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tribanon 1 week ago

The dots are there to be connected by all who can connect them. The ticking of the clock will tell and memorialize all there is to be told and memorialized at the end of it all. Soup kitchens will indeed be needed.

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PlayWitYaMa 1 week ago

Solja, what makes you think you have the right to call anyone stupid for there opinion. You realize that less than 1% (0.7%) of Americans have covid-19. Borders are already open, tourists will come, even if we have a spike in cases here, they will still come. This is the right decision as we must learn to live with this. What if a vaccine is not available for 5 years? Should we close the borders for 5 years? You will be dead by then, either by starvation or someone cutting your throat to take what's yours. Our dollar will be worthless and your 10 grand in the bank will only be worth 1 US dollar. If you want to help the situation, think of ideas that help us to live with this epidemic. AHB

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tribanon 1 week ago

OK - But "DontFoolWitMaPa"!

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tribanon 1 week ago

123...123...anyone out there?

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geostorm 1 week ago

Agreed @ Dawes. It's all a balancing act. We can not continue to hide in our homes and expect to survive this crisis eonomically. Covid -19 is here to stay. Sadly, tourism is our lifeline. We can't keep tourists out forever. Bahamians will need to adjust to the new normal and take precautions to keep themselves safe.

Health officials have reiterated what is needed to minimize the risk.......masks and handwashing are the order of the day. If you have a compromised health system or are elderly, then you need to stay home. Besides, herd immunity may be what is needed anyway to slow down this virus since a vaccine is still months away.

Whatever the case, the government can not continue to sustain it's population by being locked down.

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tribanon 1 week ago

It's not a matter of the Bahamas or US government keeping tourists out of our country - they will be keeping themselves out. And there's a good chance an effective bullet proof vaccine may never be developed for Covid-19 as is the case for the annual flu.

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bahamianson 1 week ago

"We can Cope", whom said that should take a page out of Deblasio and Andrew Cuomo's book at the beginning of the outbreak. They both were vehement about closing schools and businesses. They thought it totally absurd to wear masks in public. Cuomo bragged about New York having the best hospitals and staff in the country. Coumo said that the medical team are prepared and can handle anything Corona threw at them..............OOPS.stop being naive.

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joeblow 1 week ago

The risk will be reduced by how much I wonder. The advice of these government associated "experts" cannot be trusted when their advice defies common sense. They do have their revenue stream to protect and nobody gets to disagree with the boss!

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ISpeakFacts 1 week ago

Well said joeblow, all it takes is one or two tourist coughing up in a food store and this country will be finished! But our crazy drunken on power elected officials wants the D- population to believe that they have everything under control and its certainly working sadly, just look at the testing numbers for the past few days... some days zero people were tested, the average amount of tests completed daily for the past few weeks is about 6 people, a complete disgrace, but the bahamian population is filled with idiots who believe anything that comes from the mouth of these nasty, greedy, and most corrupt elected officials!!! You mean to tell me that out of a population of nearly 500k (including the illegal yellow chinese and nasty haitian aliens) we can only test 3 people a day???? GET REAL!!! This country is DOOMED!!!

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TimesUp 1 week ago

Extremely negligent not to inform people traveling to Grand Bahama that there is virtually no medical care available. Will it be explained that if there are even a few serious cases it will severely impact any medical care needed?

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tribanon 1 week ago

We're going to be marketing tourism and inviting tourists to our country at a time when we know we don't have the wherewithal to provide the urgent medical care they will likely require if they become seriously ill from Covid-19 during a huge surge of cases while in our country. Simply incredible! The family members of tourists who would die because of this foolishness should have the fundamental right to assert legal claims against the Bahamas government and the ministers of health and tourism in particular.

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notallus 1 week ago

It's not all the US that is seeing surges in Covid. A lot of areas are doing very well and some areas are exploding, and granted, even in the areas that are doing very well, such as New York currently, the daily increase in cases even at this very low level is more than the Bahamas have seen throughout this entire pandemic. We're 4 days away from traveling to the Family Islands, negative test results, travel cards, and masks in hand and I'm still not convinced we're actually going to be allowed in. Things are changing every hour it seems. It's all a balancing act. In the US it's been areas opened too soon with too much freedom (not requiring masks for example) that has led to the explosion in cases. Texas and Florida went way too fast and that was all motivated by $. If there were rapid tests available to get through customs we'd certainly take one.

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tribanon 1 week ago

I wish you and the other daring souls travelling with you well.

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