By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
OFFICIAL COVID-19 figures surged to 5,163 over the holiday weekend, with New Providence leading the way with some 3,937 cases.
On Friday, cases jumped by 91 bringing the total at that time to 4,955. The Ministry of Health also confirmed three more COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, while one new death was under investigation.
On Saturday, confirmed cases rose by 68 and tipped the total count over the five thousand mark to 5,023. Fifty-five more cases were added on Sunday—all from New Providence—bringing the total count of confirmed cases to 5,078. Another death was also reported on Sunday, bringing the nation’s toll to 107.
The deaths announced Friday are a 71-year-old man and a 66-year old man, both from New Providence, who died on October 8. A 58-year-old New Providence woman who died on October 9 is also included in the COVID-19 death toll.
Officials also said that a 33-year-old New Providence woman who died on September 30 and was initially classified as a non-COVID death on October 2 has since been reclassified as a COVID related death.
On Sunday, officials said a 63-year-old New Providence man who died on October 11 had been added to the official death toll.
There are 14 deaths under investigation.
On Monday, confirmed cases rose by 85 – with 76 of those in New Providence. The death toll rose to 108 after the death of an 86-year-old man on October 11. There were also two non-COVID related deaths.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis put the islands of New Providence and Abaco on lockdown over the holiday weekend due to these islands’ rapidly rising cases. Bahamians have mixed emotions regarding the lockdowns. The Tribune spoke to some of them to get their views.
Yvette Taylor, a school teacher feels the lockdowns are ineffective.
“I really don’t appreciate being locked up again,” said Ms Taylor. “What concerns me most of all is that I am seeing all sorts of videos coming in from the islands with people partying and fighting and carrying on and (hardly) a one of them have on any mask or staying away from each other.
“So they (may) spread COVID on the island and then they are going to travel to Nassau and spread it and the cycle will start all over again. So it makes no sense locking up people who are going to interact again with travelers who have it.”
Elizabeth Pierre works in a church office. She supports the lockdowns and feels that Bahamians are just not giving them a fair chance.
“We need to really listen to what the prime minister is saying,” she explained. “I trust him and his team because he is a doctor and some of the best work with him. If we truly comply with what he is saying then we will see the difference in our numbers. If we continue to be out there not complying with what is asked of us, then those preventative measures will come to naught and we will see the virus continue to spread.
“The Bahamas, unfortunately, has become a very, unruly place. No one seems to respect authority anymore. It seems to be a free for all. Do whatever you want and let someone else deal with the consequences. This is exactly what is happening now with young people and the spread of COVID-19.”
Laury Newbold, a retiree, has a different outlook. She said if the rules in the Emergency Orders were being enforced by law enforcement, then COVID numbers would drop.
“Firstly we have to accept the fact that as much as we want to see it disappear, COVID is going to be around for some time,” said Ms Newbold. “Secondly, in my circles, we talk about all kinds of people out there who continue on as if we are not in a pandemic at all. They act as though nothing is going on and they have their constant parties with no mask and stuff like that. These people are breaking the current laws, so why are they not being locked up?
“We, as a country, need to get serious. Until we do, then COVID will continue to dominate. Enforce the COVID laws and the numbers will be lowered.”