Worst Case Would Be 400 Infected: Sands Predicts Scenario If Virus Breaks Out Here

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands. (File photo)

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands. (File photo)



HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands predicted a possible worst-case scenario of 400 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in The Bahamas, but stressed if the disease spreads here most people will not need hospital admission. 

His comments came shortly before the World Health Organisation officially declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. 

While addressing church leaders at the Melia hotel, the minister said the outbreak is “very serious” as it is impacting trade and the economy.  “The cruise industry is basically on its knees,” Dr Sands said. “The airline industry is almost on its knees. We live and die on the backs of tourism.”

Dr Sands also said an American tourist was tested this week for the virus, however those results came out negative. Up to press time, there were no suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in the country. 

However the health minister estimated less than 100 people will have to be hospitalised in The Bahamas if the country was in a similar situation as Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak. 

He explained: “The worst case scenario, let’s say is Wuhan, China where there have been 80,000 cases. Wuhan has a population of about 15 million, but if we say out of the Chinese population of 1.4 billion…that maybe 80 million people contributed to that 80,000 cases and then you extrapolate to the population of the Bahamas which is 400,000 people.

“Doing that arithmetic, you would get a worst-case scenario of some 400 cases in The Bahamas. Now we also know that out those 400 cases, 80 percent of people don’t even know they have it, okay. That’s four out of every five….10 percent of people wind up with serious infection and wind up in hospital and about five percent of people wind up critically ill.

“So even if we have a Wuhan-like scenario in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we’re looking at hospitalised, potentially less than 100 people and the Intensive Care Unit, deaths, etc worst-case scenario based on the Wuhan scenario even less.”

Dr Sands said according to the global data, the disease is more of a threat to the elderly, particularly killing older, male patients with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease etc. People who are 80-years-old have anywhere between a 14 percent and 20 percent chance of dying if infected, said the health minister.

“If you are between ten and 19 and you get infected with coronavirus, you have a one in 500 chance of dying. If you are less than 40-years-old, and the cut offs vary, you have about a one in 250 chance of dying if you get infected,” he said.

The minister also put out a buyer’s warning as he noticed people online taking advantage of a frightened public by selling two masks and a hand sanitizer for $48. He said wearing a face mask does not provide any protection from COVID-19, but buying masks limits the number of stock for people who need them such as border protection officials.

Outside of Cabinet on Tuesday, the minister said a six-bed unit on the compound of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) was in the process of being built and the design for a 20-bed intensive care unit had been agreed upon. He gave more details yesterday that those units would be completed in six weeks.

Asked about the Family Islands’ coronavirus plan, Dr Sands explained every clinic on those islands has identified an isolation room, but the emphasis is greater on islands with international ports that see more international travelers.

“Every clinic has been given the protocol. They have access to the public health team and we can walk any doctor, any nurse, any health professional through the steps that they need to take,” he explained.

Asked about the issue of self-quarantine, Dr Sands said no one should try to treat themselves if they suspect they have the virus. Instead they should see a doctor and call the ministry’s hotline.

Despite officials telling people not to panic, yesterday, a video circulated online showing people outside of the Fleming Street Clinic as it was feared there was an infected person there. However, staff at the clinic told The Tribune that there were no suspected cases or evacuation at the facility.

The WHO said Wednesday that there are 118,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths from COVID-19. The virus has spread to every continent except for Antarctica.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

He also said: “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”


John 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Italy records 200 deaths in one day


xtreme2x 6 months, 2 weeks ago




ThisIsOurs 6 months, 2 weeks ago

defence force is an alternate site


observer2 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Due to financial greed cruise ships which are the worse breeding ground for the virus will continue to be allowed to stop in Nassau and let 10,000 visitors mingle with the population on a daily basis.

If theme parks, basket ball games, restaurants, travel from China, travel to Europe and churches around the world have closed it would be logical to stop cruise ships for 30 days. Cruising is a non essential leisure activity.

Secondly, shanty towns in Nassau and Andros, along with many homes over the hill have no running water and electricity and a large undocumented population. Another breeding ground for the virus.

We live in ignorance because only one person has been tested in the entire Bahamas for Civid 19. We should have been proactive doing statistical random sampling of vulnerable groups throughout the country including old folk home, healthcare providers, undocumented shanty town residents, customs and immigration officers, airport workers, school children etc.

With zero testing the virus has the capacity to spread completely below the radar. By the time it is detected it could be too late. The last thing we need is for the boarder to be shut because it is deemed like Europe and China that we did not do anything.


shonkai 6 months, 2 weeks ago

How many test-kits are actually available? If we have 400, then guess what the maximum number of confirmed cases will be.


joeblow 6 months, 2 weeks ago

How does this dimwit think he can predict the extent of the spread of the virus, when one person coughing in a grocery store when it is full could exponentially infect far more than that!

A country cannot continue to have open borders as we do, with areas known to be affected (like the UK, south florida and jamaica) and the population here not be at risk. Sands knows, in all probability that the virus is here. They are testing discriminately to minimize positive results because they are concerned about the economic impact of announcing a positive find, NOT the health of the Bahamian people!

The tests they currently have should be dispersed to public and private medical clinics through Nassau and Grand Bahama so doctors can test those they suspect, but the government won't do that!


tell_it_like_it_is 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes this statement (about 400 cases) proves that Sands is a true fool or he just doesn't care. How in the heck will we stop the spread of something that is more contagious that the flu and 10 times more deadly according to Dr. Fauci?

He sounds like Trump trying to wish it away. Everyone is saying the US is 10 -15 days behind Italy. So what happened in Italy, a similar scenario will play out in the US who isn't even taking it as seriously as they are.

Then this silly government talking about 400 cases??? We might have nearly that here now and no one will know. As it stands, the majority of people who have it will only have mild symptoms and if our precious senior citizens pass away... I'm sure the government will just say natural causes (and not corona).

As predicted, we are 100 years behind the 8-ball as usual. SMH


buddah17 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Amazing... We KNOW how many cases we COULD have in a "worse case senero!" And only 100 needing to go to the hospital... Phew.. We can all relax now. No need to start looking for resperators, medicines and other peventative measures. We should have enough staff and nurses to take care of everything.. Keep the tourist coming we "is ready!"


ThisIsOurs 6 months, 2 weeks ago

If we have 100 cases we in trouble. 400 would be cataclysmic for a hospital just added 20 beds to deal with a bed shortage, can you imagine 400 additional people needing hospitalization? let's say a measly 80 of them needed hospitalization for serious breathing problems, our healthcare would crumble.

Dr Sands never gets ruffled. I certainly wouldn't want to see him ruffled, we need clear heads managing this thing. His 400 number is scary enough to those who understand where our healthcare system is before covid.


ohdrap4 6 months, 2 weeks ago


we can walk any doctor, any nurse, any health professional through the steps that they need to take,” he


In the Fleming Street clinic, the health professionals took their steps outside, running from a coughing patient.


ohdrap4 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Doing that arithmetic, you would get a worst-case scenario of some 400 cases in The Bahamas. Now we also know that out those 400 cases, 80 percent of people don’t even know they have it, okay Blockquote

Problem is that this is not arithmetic, it is exponential growth, doubling or tripling at certain intervals.

If you are going to extrapolate, you have to use Italy as an example, not Wuhan.

  1. Wuhan was on lockdown.
  2. Wuhan data has been censored.

People need lessons in this extrapolatuon thing.



Sickened 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a crazy statement by our good Dr. We need to look at the numbers in Israel and Italy as we can be much more comfortable about their accuracy. Based on those figures we will have much more the 400 cases - especially since we are doing nothing (yet) to control the spread.


ThisIsOurs 6 months, 2 weeks ago

if we have 100 cases we in serious trouble. As I mentioned above one of the things I really admire about Dr Sands is his pensiveness, the man never appears rattled. If Dr Sands were Zhivargo Laing he'd be screaming into the mic, 400 CASES DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS??? BUNKER DOWN EVERYBODY AND SAVE YOURSELVES!!!

100 is bad enough


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 2 weeks ago

What an irresponsible fool!

This is worse than that other grand fool we have in cabinet who declared the loss of wild life due to the Equinor oil spill was limited to two birds and one goat.


Kalikgold 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The evidence is not firm, he should of avoided answering this question.


ReallyRUSure 6 months, 2 weeks ago

He may want to get him money back for that crystal ball he seems to be consulting SMT!


TalRussell 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Give the Colony's substantive health minister some schooling credit - after all the man's whose health ministry still hasn't accurately accounted for the number Hurricane Dorrian dead - em's arithmetic has so improved since September 1, 2019 - so as to scientifically to a needlepoint have predicted a on high side a possible worst-case scenario of but 400 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus. Can't write this stuff. Just, can't, considering we could be talking about just one them massive bigger than most hotels monster sized Cruise ships that in but a single arrival can brungs thousands of world traveling passengers onto anyone we Colony of Private Islands. Ironically, both we Colony's health minister - and prime minister - are both well trained with years as practiced medical practitioners. - held in high medical credibility. Has asks, what in the hell happened them medical smart brains between Hurricane Dorian and the corontovirus?


Bahamianbychoice 6 months, 2 weeks ago

His comments are incredibly irresponsible and he knows it. Very disappointed in him.


TalRussell 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma comrade Bahamian, Incredibly irresponsible has lots do with that team of 7 imported well-paid republican {sic} thought team strategists known be working alongside sister Erica up in PMO. Must watch see what roll the US Ambassador to Colony - be's playing behind scenes during these pre general election days? Where's them juicy reading Wikileaks transcripts when needed more than ever before lead up a general election bell's rungin?


bogart 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The senior govt officials today may have never been through the densely populated areas or been able to see out of the very darkly tinted car windows when and if the Govt Minister plated vehicle with chaffeur cuts through areas over the hill. These senior officials just seem to not know the realities of the densely populated areas south of Shirley St. houses so close that grammie can just raise her voice and ask the neighbour anything and other neighbour on porch can hail them. Then Minister can be excused if he living out west in big houses and big yards cant see his neighbour house which explains his low figures.


The_Oracle 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The issue is not so much the exact number of cases, but the % that will require hospitalization, ventilators, meds, In that respect I doubt we have 20 ventilators? Maybe 40? Does anyone know? Will Dr's Hospital participate in Covid-19 treatment? They better go beg another Samaritans purse Inflatable hospital or repurpose the one we have if still in G.B. Set it up on Athol Island, the last quarantine Location needed/used (for Cholera I think?).


TalRussell 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The very thought of of coronovirus flagged 929 passenger carrying cruise ship - visibly in we waters - no longer demands but a hypothetical response by we comrade health minister, officials and healthcare professionals. How prepared and equipped are they at the ready to sprungs into action?


SP 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Totally irresponsible, and unacceptable!

Dr. Sands is the only individual in the world with the ability to make such colossal conclusive predictions about a totally new, unknown virus while having absolutely no experience, no substantial testing, or any other scientific data!

Politicians becoming instant know-it-all geniuses on election day is the norm in the Bahamas. However, as Italy discovered, the Covid19 virus does not allow for "do-overs" and "corrections" to political missteps.

The negative short term financial impact the Bahamas would suffer by canceling cruise ship entries for 30 to 45 days is a minuscule drop in the bucket to the long term financial losses if the U.S., Canada, and others declare the Bahamas a Coronavirus tourist destination risk.

We MUST be proactive NOW or we will suffer dire consequences later!


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