EDITOR, The Tribune.
I read with interest reports of the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Michael Darville’s presentation to Parliament on the new COVID regulations.
I was surprised to find no mention made about public transportation.
Taxi drivers do not cater to Bahamians except from the airport.
However, as far as jitney (public bus transportation) drivers are concerned, the pandemic is apparently over.
They are packing passengers in buses as tightly as they can fit.
Jitney drivers do enforce wearing the mask and few provide hand sanitizers, but social distancing is no longer a requirement.
To what extent buses are cleaned and disinfected each day, I don’t know. Ought operators be made to?
Minister Darville was quoted as saying: “The virus spreads more rapidly indoors, and indoor gatherings with poor ventilation and large numbers of people can become super spreader events, ones which could threaten the progress we’ve made.”
That being the case, it behooves Mr Darville to carefully examine the jitney operation – what can be done to prevent a “super spreader event” from kicking off in one of those buses.
That is especially the case as schools are re-opening for face-to-face learning.
For what it’s worth, Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Centre warned that mass transit be approached with caution.
He noted that “there is always some risk of infection. After all you are entering a public space.”
To reduce the risk significantly, he suggested wearing a multi-layered mask and maintaining good hand hygiene.
Perhaps Mr Darville would not mind taking the jitney to work so he can understand first hand what I am talking about.
November 6, 2021.