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EDITORIAL: Stop COVID rise from becoming a surge

THE announcement of a wave of cases of COVID-19 involving senior staff members at the Office of the Prime Minister comes amid a rising number of infections in the nation.

Director of communications Latrae Rahming, press secretary Clint Watson and speech writer Ian Poitier all tested positive last week – although thankfully the first of those, Mr Rahming, is already reporting that the worst of his symptoms are over. We wish a speedy recovery to all three.

Last week, former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands was ringing the alarm about the number of cases going upwards – and the news of it reaching the Prime Minister’s office is as loud an alarm as we should need.

One of the concerns Dr Sands raised was that the cases reported on the daily dashboard might not give the full picture, as it doesn’t include rapid antigen tests.

However, expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes, who has been a steady voice throughout the pandemic, said that while the official figures only show the results of PCR tests, officials have access to surveillance information that includes all tests, whether PCR or rapid antigen.

That clears up worries about a possible hole in our understanding of how much the nation is being affected, but she confirmed that we are indeed seeing an uptick in numbers of new cases.

She said: “We have these omicron and omicron sub-variants that we know that are even more infectious.

“And so, we do have to watch that and we do have to be mindful as we see surges in other locations that we need t consider that this uptick might result in one but what we do now makes a difference. How we, for example, adhere to recommendations but we are monitoring it. There has been a slight increase over a number of weeks now.”

And where are these cases originating? Right here. Dr Forbes said 65 percent of cases – more than three in five – have been transmitted locally, and not involving travel.

So that means the virus – not that it ever quite went away – is right here among us, and we need to be on our guard as the cases rise again.

It’s the wrong time to be taking our foot off the pedal. We should be listening more than ever to the experts in what restrictions should be in place – and it seems the wrong time to be easing those any further.

The last thing we want is this rise to become a full-blown surge and shut down our schools as students hit exam time, and put the rest of us back to square one.

We have preached it often here – but keep following the guidelines about wearing masks, keeping your distance, using sanitiser and so on. Is it essential to meet up with someone? Then perhaps make it a phone call rather than a face-to-face chat. Think safety first, and avoid spreading the virus to someone who might be vulnerable.

Last week, The Tribune reported that vaccinations do not seem to be making much progress – well, now’s the time if you’ve held off previously.

If we take precautions, we can slow down this rise, or even turn it around. And that might well be a matter of life and death.

Exuma tragedy

The news of the terrible tragedy in Exuma involving the deaths of three American tourists, and the hospitalisation of a fourth has been abuzz across news outlets here and abroad, and social media across The Bahamas.

The telephone has been ringing with people speculating about what the cause of the death might have been. Was it the air conditioning? Was it food poisoning? Was it something else?

It is important to be cautious in such matters, and let the coroners do their work.

The loss will be felt no less keenly by the families of those who died regardless of the cause – but it is important for many reasons to learn what led to this tragedy, not least of all to ensure such a tragedy should not be repeated.

So let us be patient, listen to what is uncovered – and then act to prevent it if possible.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"Last week"?????

The rise started in March. Spring Break. same as last year. Funny enough, same as last year we're falling for the same "easter holiday, Bahamians cant behave" explanation. This was all triggered by the exponential increase in tourism numbers that theyve been crowing about as well as tourists who are "tired of the protocols... and we're listening to them" according to Chester Cooper.

Said before, the only thing on our side right now is, this isnt delta. God save us if a virulent strain pops up. Because nothing has changed with the response or the willingness of Tourism to place Bahamian lives behind protection of the golden goose

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SP 1 month, 4 weeks ago

DUH!?!?..... If Covid cases are rising in the US, Canada, & China, what did they expect to happen when our stupid government continued to relax covid protocols.

It seems as if Davis and Cooper are intentionally causing the rise of covid to get their fat fingers on more covid loans and grants!

Only an absolute jackass could see covid trending upwards in major countries and relax covid protocols in a tourist destination

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User1234 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So weirdly, all of the rules that we have been following haven't stopped the cases getting in....so the answer is to keep doing what doesn't work right? At some point you have to go back to normal life, this is an endemic disease, you have the means to deal with it...vaccinate, take antivirals etc or stay at home and do not come in to contact with others....its should be a personal choice not a commandment!

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JokeyJack 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Of course Covid is out of control. Can't you see the dead bodies lying all over the streets???? It's a pandemic. Let's all freak out and go crazy !!!

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ohdrap4 4 weeks ago

the dead bodies are from monkeypox.

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