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Brave - Lockdowns Are A ‘Useless Tool’

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

LOCKDOWNS have been a “useless tool” in the hands of the Minnis administration, insisted Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday, as he urged officials to allow free COVID-19 testing for all Bahamians.

Mr Davis said as the country is losing the fight against the potentially deadly respiratory disease, the government needed to act now to erase the “sorry state of affairs” that has worsened the situation.

While he said the government needed a feasible action plan that includes free testing for every Bahamian, he said the party would not stand behind another complete lockdown of New Providence in the absence of complete data to support why the move is being considered.

Yesterday PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said local businesses could not afford another lockdown.

The PLP’s recommendations also include expanding contact tracing to 250 tracers in the capital, 50 in Grand Bahama and 10 each at Bimini, Eleuthera, Abaco and Exuma.

The recommendations were to be presented to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, government officials and international health organisations yesterday. However, that meeting was rescheduled to Monday due to a scheduling issue.

“We cannot support an initiative and we don’t have all the data or information that informs that initiative,” Mr Davis said during the PLP’s monthly omnibus press conference.

“What I can say as I stand here (is) previous lockdowns have proved useless. After every lockdown we’ve had spikes, not a containment or flattening of the effect of COVID-19. So, the question is: is that an effective measure being employed by this government or is it that putting this tool in their hands just demonstrates or reveals how incompetent they are to deal with the pandemic?”

Mr Davis added: “Lockdowns in The Bahamas have not proven to produce any results. We understand what is going on in other jurisdictions and in those jurisdictions the lockdowns have worked, but has it worked here? We have had waves and waves since the lockdown.

“When we reopened in July the number of cases were just under 100 (then). Now today it’s near 5,000 and we’ve had lockdowns since, at least two.

“So, what are the results of a lockdown? It’s a useless tool in the hands of this government.”

The Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP also said every Bahamian has a right to be tested for COVID-19 and this testing should be free.

He acknowledged this undertaking would be expensive. However, Mr Davis said it would not be as expensive as the failure to stop COVID-19 has been.

“A major error of this government has been to focus testing only on symptomatic individuals.

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 50 percent of COVID-19 transmission occurs before the onset of symptoms. That means in The Bahamas, by the time we’ve tested someone, and returned their results, they’ve likely already passed the virus to many other Bahamians.

“In addition, 40 percent of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic – that means people have the virus, but don’t know they have it, and don’t know they’re spreading it. No wonder cases keep growing here.

“The PLP’s COVID-19 task force has repeatedly called for a substantial expansion of testing. As we have said since April, testing is the only way to make an invisible virus visible. If any Bahamian suspects they may have been exposed to the virus, they should be able to get tested for free and those results should be returned quickly.

“We should be encouraging and supporting testing, not throwing up obstacles. The ability to keep yourself and your family and co-workers safe should not depend on your ability to pay for a test. It is a serious hardship for most Bahamians to isolate themselves from family and from their places of work. Most will not do so without a positive test result. Would this be expensive to implement? Yes. But not as expensive as the failure to stop COVID has been.

“We need a substantial increase in the personnel and resources devoted to testing. Testing centres should be established across our islands with a special focus on emerging hotspots. Rapid antigen testing can be one part of our testing arsenal in order to identify positive cases quickly.”

The party’s recommendations also include the establishment of a government facility for isolation where people can safely stay until they no longer have the virus; ensuring that all clinics in the Family Islands are equipped with the tools necessary to treat COVID-19; protocols that protect indoor facilities against airborne transmission and moving activities outdoors; and beefing up resources at hospitals and clinics.

For his part, Mr Cooper said the business community is very concerned about the prospects of facing another lockdown.

“The lockdowns have been painful for business, for employees, for employers who’ve had to make very difficult decisions. Small businesses in particular have experienced significant pain in terms of not being able to generate any revenue — the little that may be available to them. So they are extremely concerned. The business community understands that COVID is real and the crisis continues, but the reality on the ground indicates that they have ongoing fixed expenses and very little revenues and the greater and the deeper the lockdowns the more difficult it will be for business,” the Exuma and Ragged Island MP said yesterday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis hinted that tougher measures for New Providence and possibly Abaco may be on the way due to rising cases. He said he would update the nation after a series of meetings with international experts and health officials this week.

Comments

Clamshell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The real “useless tool” in this debate is “Gravy” Davis. It’s easy to talk when you’re rich enough to flee to America for treatment if you get infected. How many Bahamians can afford that?

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moncurcool 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Nuff said! No need to even comment further

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bahamianson 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Brave needs to address that point. He also needs to address the point of his daughter not living in Georgia but saying that he went over to be near his daughter. One would think that in order to be near your daughter, you would go to the state in which she lives. it seems that he used that ploy to present a more acceptable picture to his followers whom can't afford to travel for treatment.

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Islangal1 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I agree! I thought that was such a slap in the face to the Bahamian people. No hospital in The Bahamas was good enough to treat him, not Doctor's, Lyford Cay and definitely NOT PMH! But the Bahamians have to endure the mediocre of PMH. I hope they get fewer seats in the next election than they did in the last!

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whogothere 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Functionality of the 'gravy' aside...He's not wrong.. You honestly think Bahamians can 'afford' lockdowns at this point with collapse of our tourism economy?

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OMG 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Private clinic in P. Point offering covid test reportedly for $300 . If true how many can afford that ?. That being said if offered through the public health system, their needs to be stringent accounting because the public might be suprised how slack accounting for funds collecyed it is at the momemt

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bahamianson 3 weeks, 2 days ago

we need people to think and ask good questions. The lockdown worked for Bimini and Freeport didn't it? Why is the lockdown a useless tool? This one isn't a hard one to solve. the reason why the lockdown is a useless tool is because no one abided by the lockdown. if you are in lockdown and people are still partying , it won't work. This past weekend there was a party out west with over 300 people in attendance. this is common sense and brave needs to get people around him whom can think. If we are all in our houses , how can we spread the virus? If a number of us are sneaking out, it will continue to spread. This is a no brainer. I am not advocating for a lockdown , but the principle of a lockdown fully enforced will work. Brave , you don't have an argument here.

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whogothere 3 weeks, 2 days ago

A lockdown is about as useful as holding your breadth with someone farts in the elevator and you're riding to the top floor of a very tall building... some point you got it get out and use the stairs, or breath, gag and get through it. Either way holding your breadth is pointless you'll collapse unconscious or breathe anyway. We're stuck in the elevator, we can't get out and whats worse we're trying to get people in here...Where's my air freshener..?

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Dawes 3 weeks, 2 days ago

One of the few times i agree with Davies. We should have been testing and tracing from the start. but no our Government tired to do things on the cheap and hope it would disappear. They have seriously dropped the ball. Finally enforce the dam laws, masks, social distancing and stop those parties and funerals we all see being done by people who must be untouchable for some reason.

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MrsQ 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Lockdowns do work. Look at Thailand for example. It's a country of nearly 70 million people, yet compared to the Bahamas, it has fewer cases of the virus overall as well as fewer cases of death. The number of COVID cases in the country was under control for months until Minnis and others in the government prematurely opened the border on July 1st. At the time, you could have a 10-day old test result and come here. While it is true that some Bahamians have not taken the virus seriously enough and have continued to be reckless by hosting parties and the like, one can't ignore the toll that opening the borders has taken. And now the government wants to pretend like everything is fine and fully open back up to tourism in a month despite the fact that cases are surging. As long as the virus is out of control and our hospitals are filled to capacity, tourism will not come back. All it will take to taint the nation's image is one American tourist dying here because they couldn't get proper care in a crowded hospital.

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whogothere 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Mrs Q, you're so off base I think you're in the wrong stadium. 1. You're comparing a country a domestic market 300k with one that 70 Million. 2. Lockdown before the virus takes off is one thing, lockdown at this point when you have massive community spread, well it's about as useful as Fauci 's goggles. 3. Collateral damage much !? - economy, surgeries, diagnostics, suicides, drug abuse, crime - all moves the wrong way; all with a price tag in death... 4. It's not worth that collateral damage - the virus survived by 99.8-99.9% of persons infected basically the same as severe flu season...If it was MERS or ebola...then yeah lock me down...5. If you want to lockdown personally then you should totally do that..- it used to be a free planet..

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MrsQ 3 weeks, 1 day ago

The thing with COVID is it's not just about deaths from the disease itself. The overflow of COVID patients will cause others with non-COVID health conditions to lose out on proper care. There is also ample evidence that surviving COVID results in a myriad of serious health problems like damage to the heart, lungs, and kidneys that will overwhelm the health system for a very long time and kill people in the long-term. And if you think tourists are going to flock here when the virus is out of control, I have a bridge I can sell you. Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba and American media was saturated with stories about whether it was safe to travel to Aruba. More recently, the Dominican Republic's tourism industry took a huge hit in 2019 when a couple of Americans died under seemingly mysterious circumstances at a couple of all-inclusive resorts. Despite the fact it was determined that nothing sinister had happened to them, the media coverage about whether it was safe to travel to the DR and there was a sharp decline in tourism. Now imagine the media coverage and the damage to the Bahamas's reputation as a tourist spot if an American or two dies from COVID here in one of our overcrowded hospitals. The major resorts here were smart enough to realize that opening up now is foolish. One outbreak in there property would be enough to kill business for a long time.

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TigerB 3 weeks, 2 days ago

They work, look at Grand Bahama, we went covid crazy.. then a 2 week lockdown, we are having1 and 2 a day now But I add here if people don't comply they will be useless.

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tribanon 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Sadly though, as bad as yellow belly Davis is, Minnis has proven himself to be much much worse. The politicial careers of Davis and Minnis must be brought to an end by the Bahamian people at the earliest possible time.

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Will COVID 19 go away after the lockdown? doc is taking bread out of the mouths of Bahamians by not allowing them to work. On Holidays there is double pay doc has taken that away from them. Their paycheques will be short this week a few days less work. but doc will receive his full pay.

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whogothere 3 weeks, 2 days ago

You got that...30% cut to all civil servants - thats what New Zealand did... Minnis likes their strategy so much maybe it's time...

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