EDITOR, The Tribune.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ revelation to the country that one out of 100 Nassuvians has been infected with COVID-19 is evidence that the current restrictive measures have failed miserably to curb the spread of the deadly virus, which has claimed the lives of 96 Bahamians. Whatever recommendations the Pan-American Health Organisation and the World Health Organisation gives, Nassuvians, based on their violent reactions to Minnis’ announcement of a sudden lockdown weeks ago, are at their wit’s end with the curfews and lockdowns. Of the 4,230 infections recorded up to last week Thursday, a staggering 3,099 are on New Providence.
New Providence currently has nearly five times the number of infections in Grand Bahama, that has 635, the second highest number of infections in The Bahamas. The question Ministry of Health officials and the Minnis administration must ask themselves is this: Why is the infection rate so high in New Providence? I think the answer lies in the geography of the capital, which makes it nearly downright impossible to adhere to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines in not having huge gatherings.
You see, New Providence, with its population of 274,400, has an area of only 207 kilometers, or 80 square miles. You do the math. The 80 square miles that make up the nation’s capital island means that each square mile has an average of 3,430 residents. This means that New Providence has a high population density, which spells bad news in the fight against COVID-19. No one should blame the Free National Movement administration for what is currently happening in New Providence. Successive governments, since the first Progressive Liberal Party administration, have been traditionally Nassau-centric, wooing most of the major investors to the capital, instead of the sparsely populated Family Islands. This approach has now backfired in the worst possible way.
With its overpopulation, this outbreak was bound to happen in Nassau. The only thing that can now save New Providence, by God’s grace, is that one of the 169 vaccine candidates under review by World Health Organisation scientists is the cure for COVID-19.
October 5, 2020.