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'Critical' moment in fight

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas has not yet turned the corner in its fight against COVID-19, a senior physician yesterday insisted, adding that at this “critical” juncture the nation’s plan needs reworking.

Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) president Sabriquet Pinder-Butler told The Tribune that given increasing COVID-19 numbers, the population has failed to pull together in a concerted effort to combat the deadly disease.

A proponent for lockdowns, she said the tool will only work when combined with other measures.

According to Dr Pinder-Butler, there is also a need for more contact tracers and additional testing.

“I think we wouldn’t be turning any corners right now because I think the COVID situation in the country as well as globally is still critical,” the CPSA president told The Tribune yesterday. “We’re definitely not seeing any downturns at this point in time. I think we are still seeing increased capacities of cases and over capacities of healthcare institutions at this moment.”

Asked about the public health strategy currently in use, she said: “I think that we agree that we need to refocus and try to re-strategise on the best way possible to get our population in general on the same page.

“I think we’re still not seeing a concerted enough effort of all of us in terms of the preventative measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the country. I think we’re still not doing sufficient in terms of wearing our masks, social distancing, ensuring that we isolate and or quarantine when we know that we have COVID. That is still not happening.

“We’re not being our brothers’ keeper as we should and so as much as we may have restrictions lockdowns and different things along those lines we have to do that simultaneously because even if we have these things and we don’t do the other things we will still continue to have the spread of COVID-19 and I think that’s what’s hurting us the most in our country at this time.

“(With) the contact tracing obviously (we need) more capacity with that,” she continued. “We need more numbers especially with the numbers that we’ve seen. Increased testing would obviously be a good thing as well for us to know and confirm persons.

“There are a lot of people who if they don’t get tested they do not feel that they’re having COVID-19 symptoms, but the flip side to that is there are people who you also encourage to get tested and they won’t go to get tested because they don’t believe they have COVID either or they don’t want to consider even knowing what’s happening in the country and in the world that its COVID because they want to continue to go to the store, continue to go out as usual and a lot of them, if they don’t have major symptoms, they don’t feel that there is a need for them to even truly know.

“So, there are so many things that come into play and that’s why I think it’s important for all of us to appreciate that we have to keep all of the things in line.”

Health professionals are also concerned about reinfections.

Multiple international news agencies are reporting that the US recorded its first case of COVID-19 reinfection.

A man in the United States has reportedly contracted the respiratory virus twice, with the second infection becoming far more dangerous than the first.

The 25-year-old needed hospital treatment after his lungs could not get enough oxygen into his body.

However, reinfections remain rare and the man has now recovered.

In this regard Dr Pinder-Butler said it is important that everyone does their part.

“When we look at the fact that we’re hoping that numbers would start to be on a consistent decline and then you see new cases coming up again it’s like okay, we are hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, but we might also be having another bout of darkness and flu season is upon us. It is something to be concerned about, which is why I think the main thing we have to do right now is to make sure that we continue to encourage each other as we’re going through these things. Continue to educate the public about COVID and the measures to take to safeguard all of us.

“We are having concerns about that, but we will have to see how best we’ll have to help ourselves as we battle our way through COVID-19.”

Back in August, consultant physicians said they were disheartened by the alarming number of patient deaths related to COVID-19, sparked by an exponential increase in cases when the country re-opened its borders in July.

At the time Dr Pinder-Butler said the surge in cases had not only significantly strained medical workers, but main health facilities now have no more space for COVID-19 positive people.

The situation, she said, has stretched teams beyond measure.

Comments

Economist 1 year, 10 months ago

“(With) the contact tracing obviously (we need) more capacity with that,” she continued."

What tracing? I know many persons who have told me that, after they tested positive, it was several days before they were contacted and some say they were NEVER CONTACTED.

This is the problem, hardley any testing, by Government, and then little or no contact tracing.

The police should be tested at least once a week and frontline health workers everyother day.

School children should be tested every week or every two weeks.

It is known that good testing can capture 40% of the cases where the persons are spreading the virus but have not shown any symptoms.

The only reason the test numbers are going up is because the private sector are doing it.

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TalRussell 1 year, 10 months ago

My Comrade Economist, I'm trying me uttermost be using as close to the downstairs in the square's official verbiage picked up whilst mingling amongst PopoulacesOrdinary (POAL,) who has it that the OPM, has engaged foreigner virus consultants for as much as $7,333 day to at least attempt brung the Authoritarian Redcoats Central Bureau's (ARCB) virus testing up to par that of Haiti's. Shake head once for Yeah, Twice for Not?

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Economist 1 year, 10 months ago

Wow Tal, and yet we decided that the 45,000 tests that Cayman was selling in April/May (at cost) were too expensive.

$7333 a day is crazy.

Shows you how desperate Minnis is now.

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DWW 1 year, 10 months ago

$7k per day to tell them something they already know or i could give them for in exchange for a quick trip to florida to get my child's eyes checked and purchase glasses.

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MrsQ 1 year, 10 months ago

My husband tested positive last Friday and we still have not received a call from the Health Department to contract trace him. There's no way the government will be able to get this virus under control if they don't dramatically increase testing and tracing.

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TalRussell 1 year, 10 months ago

Comrade Sister Mrs. Q, your comrades' prayers are being transmitted on behalf of Mr. Q, as we post.

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ISpeakFacts 1 year, 10 months ago

Minnis and his administration lost this fight in the opening round, got completely knocked out by the Chinese Virus!

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

As was with Sbaco and Bimini, this doctor should the results of the curfew:lockdown will not be seen until the middle of the second week and with New Providence and Abaco not going into a full 7 day lockdown, it may be a few days longer. One epidemic/pandemic expert suggests taking reasonable measures, such as wearing of masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings etc., along with limited curfews and lockdowns but allowing the virus to burn itself out.’ He feels that once a certain percentage of the population is infected, the virus will wear off and disappear as those infected will act like a vaccine and protect those who didn’t contract the virus.

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

When the covid-29 virus appeared in March, it was predicted that 1:3 of the Bahamian population or approximately 135,000 persons will contract the virus. Of that amount 10% or 13,500 persons will be such to the point of requiring hospitalization and some will be critical. And around 450 deaths were also projected. Considering this country (and most of the world) are in the middle of the second wave and considering there is the possibility of a third wave (that is projected to be short lived and less deadly) these numbers seem to be on target.

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whogothere 1 year, 10 months ago

Would love to see that prediction...numbers are bit off.. WHO was estimating case fatality of 4% and IFRs of 1% back in back in march. CFR are now about half and IFR is about 10-20 times less than initial estimates. Ultimately it depends on how liberally you define a covid death. In Singapore part of their ‘success’ is they have a very strict definition of COIVD death - comorbidities are weight in their cause. So if you’re on the way out already you’re not a covid death. In Belgium (and the USA) it’s a very liberal definition. You don’t need to tested to be covid death, and if you die of drug over dose and you test positive you’re a covid case. The combination of these two things makes it easy to rack up a death count or limit it. In the USA hospital are very handsomely compensated for handling COVID death and cases, so there’s skin in the game to actually ramp up COVID cases and deaths. And voila there you have 6% of death purely covid rated 94% with 2 or 3 commodities in the USA 200k death count...PCR tests are ramped to detect virus remnants that aren’t even infectious... no idea what they do here, but I’m sure it’s loose and fast.

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rodentos 1 year, 10 months ago

the outcome will be the same no matter what you do. You can only delay it a bit. Get real man. If tomorrow an asteroid is going to hit Earth what are you going to do? lock down everybody? Or make a law that forbids asteroid impacts?

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TigerB 1 year, 10 months ago

I love the idea of more testing, there is a need for more of everything but let's be real... the doctors are stressed out and the nurses are striking. The Prime Minister always said he didn't want the health care system overwhelmed, well they are now. Us regulars Joes cannot administer our own test. We killed out the health care professionals long before we had actually had a ton of cases. So who will do the test? I am not sure Bahamians are getting it. Then we sit back and blame the government. I'm certain if the government change Covid will still be with us.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 10 months ago

there's an easy way to do it. what did they do when they wanted people to get new nib cards register to vote etc? They went to large companies and had onsite registration. identify the problem as you have with human behaviour, you not gonna change it, so what you gonna do? Work with it.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 10 months ago

watch the announcement for the new strategy that they came up with

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ohdrap4 1 year, 10 months ago

You giving away the milk for free.

I have work and education experience that could help with contact tracing, but keep quiet.

I will not work for free while the consultants get 5000 per month plus their pension.

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rodentos 1 year, 10 months ago

stop this modern witch hunt. You can't control nature. Get a working health system instead, that would also help in future in case of similar problems. Money spend for testing is just waste of resources. Get oxygen machines instead.

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DWW 1 year, 10 months ago

this is a human behavior issue not a medical issue. treat it as such. you cannot force crowds of people to do something successfully. but if you get the crowd to want to do it on their own then you have a solution. otherwise Minnis et.al. are like a dog chasing its tail.
The comments about foreign consultants getting huge sums of money is outrageous. where is the transparency Minnis? care to share?

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Economist 1 year, 10 months ago

Agreed, you need a "leader" who can get people to embrace the protocols. Much like the leaders of New Zealand, Germany and Iceland.

This is a time for the PM to step up to the plate and hit the home rum.

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Economist 1 year, 10 months ago

Agreed, you need a "leader" who can get people to embrace the protocols. Much like the leaders of New Zealand, Germany and Iceland.

This is a time for the PM to step up to the plate and hit the home run.

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tribanon 1 year, 10 months ago

LOL. You clearly know little if anything about Minnis.

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