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Editorial: Fighting On The Front Line

When we talk about healthcare workers on the front line of the battle against COVID-19, it’s people such as Dr George Charite and his daughters that we are talking about.

Two of Dr Charite’s daughters tested positive for the virus last month – and both are nurses.

One is still in hospital, while the other remains in isolation and is, in Dr Charite’s words, “coming along”.

Dr Charite himself, meanwhile, had to be taken out of the healthcare system, having been exposed to the virus from a patient he had treated earlier.

His quarantine was extended after his daughters tested positive – meaning he has been in quarantine for more than a month.

These are the people most affected by the virus. These are the people put most at risk by having to be on the front line tending to those who have caught COVID-19, these are the people having to battle for their own health having stepped up to look after ours.

This is also the second national disaster in succession that has affected Dr Charite’s family – he lost his clinic to Hurricane Dorian when it blasted through Abaco.

He wants to go back to Abaco once travel restrictions are lifted. But in the meantime? He’s just keeping on working in Nassau, dealing with patients remotely and monitoring the progress of his daughters’ recovery.

We really don’t deserve people as dedicated as the Charite family. So when you think about whether you need to go out? Whether you need to wear a mask? Think about them, and play your part in keeping them safe.

Are we ready for another Dorian?

We might not want to think about it as we wrestle with the pandemic currently affecting us – but hurricane season is on its way.

What have we learned since Hurricane Dorian hit? On Monday, we reported an assessment from the International Organisation for Migration which warned that most of the shelters in Abaco and Grand Bahama are unusable. There was also a shortage of emergency shelter managers, the organisation found.

But what of Dorian itself? All the forecasts failed to predict its strength and path across the northern Bahamas, not one expecting the storm to stall and sit churning over Abaco and Grand Bahama.

One meteorologist called the moment when Dorian rapidly intensified before making landfall “sobering” and “scary”.

When a forecast misses the mark as it did with Dorian, it raises concern about how accurately we can predict the next storm, and the next.

There is rightly concern over how the northern islands could take another hit – especially as we look at the prospect of a more active hurricane season this year.

But what about New Providence? How well could we take a hit of that magnitude? What preparations have we made for a Dorian-size storm hitting the capital? What have we learned?

Dorian ought to have taught us to fundamentally rethink our hurricane preparations – and our response if one does hit. The financial impact of the storm and then COVID-19 makes that an incredibly difficult task – but a storm hitting us without the right preparation would be even worse.

Storm season is less than a month away. Time is ticking.

Comments

TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

As a former enlisted British Army soldier, I join in raising the right hand, keeping hand straight and fingers together touching my eyebrow - hold my salute 30 seconds with palm hand tilted down in honour the unselfish acts Comrades Dr Charite’s, and two Nurses daughters. I salute!

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lovingbahamas 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Does anyone think that the government of the Bahamas and NEMA have done any hurricane preparedness for 2020 other than jotting down all names of the hundreds of US Citizens that came to the rescue and all the NGOs and charities that came to the rescue? I mean it took 5 months to get telephone poles erected and water repairs started in TC. Even a Cat 2 or 3 is going to be a debacle. Maybe they can use the food leftover in the Nassau warehouses from Dorian. But the simple fact is-THERE IS NO HURRICANE PLAN! And, where are the citizens going to evacuate to if Covid is still around. If there was ever a year for the government to get ready this would be it. We’ll see.

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joeblow 3 weeks, 4 days ago

What makes Dr Charite's story even more ironic were the remarks of the PM several seeks ago when he seemed to suggest private doctors should try to help out more in the COVID-19 fight. We here you have it and I don't doubt there are many others.

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