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‘Bahamas Is Now In A Third Wave’

photo

Dr Nikkiah Forbes

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

WITH total COVID-19 cases nearing the 10,000 mark, the country’s top infectious disease expert believes The Bahamas is now facing its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The comments from Dr Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Ministry of Health, came as health officials reported 40 more cases on Saturday, pushing the nation’s overall tally to 9,736. Of this figure, 441 cases are active.

Friday saw 62 new infections, while 41 cases were recorded on Thursday, 30 on Wednesday, 58 on Tuesday, 45 on Monday and 21 last Sunday for a total of 297 last week.

The week prior saw 189 infections.

Last week, health officials also reported a rise in COVID-19 deaths, with the current toll at 194. The latest deceased victims are a 69-year-old woman from New Providence who died on April 8; a 57-year-old Abaco man and a 51-year-old New Providence woman—both of whom died on April 9; a 75-year-old woman from Andros who died April 11 and a 82-year-old New Providence man who died April 15.

Meanwhile, 45 people are currently in hospital fighting the virus.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Dr Forbes confirmed the climbing COVID numbers and hospital cases show the country is now in its early stages of the third wave.

Dr Forbes said Bahamians have let their guards down, which she said contributed to the spike. However, she said some of the cases recently recorded have also been linked to the workplace and travel.

“Undoubtedly, we’re not all following the public health measures,” Dr Forbes said yesterday. “But, there are other scenarios. There are workplace exposures, there’s also gatherings. There has been an uptick in cases after the Easter holidays that contributed to. . .(the) rise and then there’s travel related cases and so there are several things that are contributing to what’s happening with the increase of cases.”

However, the COVID-19 task force member said the nation could still get a handle on the situation if Bahamians continue to follow all of the health measures among other things.

She also noted vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and isolation strategies will be key in helping to tackle this wave of the pandemic but said all measures will “have to be done in combination”.

She said: “The public health measures are very effective, but the key is for that to work is everybody has to follow them…The other way that the COVID outbreak could be stopped is a full robust vaccination programme but that takes time and we have to get a very large proportion of the population immunised and that takes time so there’s two parts—prevention like the vaccine and public health measures—and then there’s control measures.

“(This includes) having public health platforms that identifies the cases early and early means it has to be done very early like within a day or two and put those cases in isolation and find the high-risk contact and put them in quarantine and do follow up testing and it can work, but all those things have to be done in combination.”

Last week, former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune he believes the country has reached a point where “draconian interventions” might be needed to bring rising COVID-19 cases under control.

He said the high COVID numbers confirmed in the last few days show the country has a “serious problem” and added that officials will now have to determine what sort of intervention is needed to curb further COVID spread.

Asked whether she thought more restrictions were needed to get cases under control, Dr Forbes did not give her thoughts on the matter yesterday, but said officials would have to consider several factors before making such decisions.

She told this newspaper: “Now, here’s the challenge when you start talking about restrictive measures, if you are following the preventive strategies and public health measures but you see not everybody does it, that’s where policy makers have to consider, do we need to put in place things to reduce gatherings and opportunities to reduce gatherings?

“That’s how that works because if people are not following or complying with the measures, then the question arises, do you now have to put in place certain things to reduce the chance that COVID could spread?’

She added: “For example, if you reduce the curfew down, then it reduces the chance that it could spread through some of events that a lot of people are attending. You also want to make sure that people in the workplace are adhering to the workplace guidelines and that people who are traveling are reducing their risks and only doing essential travel and also are people compliant with all of these measures.

“So that it is what one needs to consider when thinking about restrictions. . .and you still have to know that restrictions will still impact socialisations and the economy.”

Both Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Health Minister Renward Wells have recently said there are no plans to increase COVID restrictions.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 5 months, 1 week ago

as they will hold onto a result from 50 samples that took 4 months to process that there's no COVID variant.

Meanwhile the CDC has just said Americans shouldn't travel here because they're at risk for contracting COVID variants.

We could lie to ourselves forever but the world een on our run. I said WEEKS ago the dramatic rise in cases was likely due to VISITORS crossing the border and with persons suddenly dying and showing up critical in hospital, more than likely there were COVID variants here. But these guys buried their heads in the sand until crisis hit. What they feared, " the world thinking there were COVID variants here happened without them and without their mitigating action".

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John 5 months, 1 week ago

While it has been confirmed that the country is experiencing a third wave of Corona and also that the CDC has issued a travel advisory for the entire Bahamas, authorities seem to be dragging their feet in putting stricter measures in place to help control the virus. There were five or six schools on New Providence that reported children coming to school and testing positive and some of these schools had to be closed. A full lockdown will be too costly to a country in economic turmoil but some measure has to be taken, at least in the highly infected areas. There are reports of tourists refusing to wear masks on hotel properties and putting staff at risk

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John 5 months, 1 week ago

Why are so many places that has mass vaccinations seeing increases in covid numbers? Is there a relationship between the vaccine and the increasing numbers?

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 1 week ago

no the relationship is between the number of visitors coming from America. They are bringing COVID variants we have no immunity to and people are getting very sick and some are dying. It is somewhat ironic that the CDC trying to protect their citizens from us

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whogothere 5 months, 1 week ago

Both true! Israel, England, Chile every single country once it’s V programs gets underway cases go up. Vaccinations force people to congregate and as such possibly are super spreader events in themselves also vaccinations temporarily impact immune system to deliver its payload which means it’s easier to contract than it already is...also there is pandemic fatigue setting in and well there’s the off chance bill gates along with some secret society of megalomaniacs are messing with a bunch bio software and taking it for test drive..but that’s a long shot ;) lol

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Dawes 5 months, 1 week ago

The vaccine does not stop the virus, it does however severely limit how bad it gets and massively reduces the number of deaths. The UK is seeing daily deaths down to single digits (and down 69% from a week ago), whilst cases are down around 3,00 a day (17% down on a week ago and down from 60,000 at the start of the year). The USA had deaths over 2,000 a day a short while ago, now it is in the 7-800 range, cases around 70,000 from 250,000. This is the same in most countries that have widespread use of the vaccine. Bahamas is under 5% vaccinated, which is not widespread.

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rodentos 5 months, 1 week ago

on long term vaccines only worsen the situation because we will get quadrillions of asymptomatic super spreaders.

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whogothere 5 months, 1 week ago

But also 700 active active cases in population off 400,000 is hardly a wave... And with 194 deaths in over a year we re officially 80% below the average yearly deaths due to heart disease and diet related illnesses....and we still have not tabled the banning of fried chicken or mandated morning walks..hmmm.. not mention that 78% of those that died or were hospitalized of/with covid 19 in usa were clinically obese...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc...">https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc...

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 1 week ago

you've swallowed the koolaid on "only 700 cases". A visitor asked the question how many cases we had, when given the number they then asked about the protocol for testing. The response was you only have to test if you have symptoms. The visitor said, oh, I see, no wonder your numbers are so low.

This is not an accident. The administration has a tourism marketing plan specifically geared, it seems, at falsifying numbers... errors of ommission they call it in accounting. If they don't count it, it doesn't exist. Its so insidious that theyve begun to believe their own tales. So what happens is the only time they take action is when things get ridiculously out of control because it's the only time they can't deny something is happening. Even up to yesteday Jeff Lloyd says he's not getting into any talk about a 3rd wave... as he has to forcibly close 6 schools???!!!??? This is the kind of "strategic thinking" that's leading our country. "Admit nothing"

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whogothere 5 months, 1 week ago

It’s travesty that rather than deal with reality our government would rather deprive our children of education....

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whogothere 5 months, 1 week ago

I hate koolaid but yes the official count is always off by a magnitude of 10, - there is just no good reason to get test unless you need it for travel or work or visiting Grammy ...the point is still same when far less than 1% of the nation has a cold and 3-5 people are in ICU - what are we wringing our hands about? Particularly when Mac and cheese and mayonnaise are killing far more people every year...?

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rodentos 5 months, 1 week ago

you forget also these 250+ who die from shootings every year. By same logic there must be 24h curfew because of these shootings

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