LettersOpinion

A strategy for reopening economy

Dear Editor,

In this country right now there are basically two groups of people — those who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and those who have not.

Obviously, in those who have not been infected there remains a chance that they can be; that is what second waves of infections are all about, but what about those who may have already been infected without having symptoms?

If the government has already tested and confirmed some persons as having had COVID-19, isolated them and have released them as free from the virus, why is this group of persons still subject to lockdown laws to protect them from getting something they have already had?

In other words, if the true purpose of the lockdown is to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, but there are those who have had it and recovered and are theoretically not at risk of catching it in the short term, why are they still being forced to lockdown with those in the community who may not have yet had it? Seems preposterous to me.

They should have a card that allows them to be free to roam through the community at any time without fear of incurring liability for breaking this curfew.

By extension, we must ask that if a large percentage of the population may already have antibodies to this virus, then why are they still being asked to restrict movement and not work in order to prevent them from catching something they may have already had? Despite feeble efforts to convince the public otherwise, the simple reality is that the government is not doing enough testing.

For reasons still unclear, the government seems averse to large-scale antibody testing in our population.

It is controlling the flow of information in this way and using arbitrary reasons to extend the lockdown without any evidentiary basis and this is suspicious, especially in light of the fact that they did not buy tens of thousands of test kits from the Cayman Islands at cost, but bent over backwards to allow two special Bahamian residents entry into the country with 2,500 swabs for test kits.

This highlights the importance and necessity of private sector involvement in moving things forward.

From what I understand, there are any number of testing kits that can distinguish between whether or not a person has had recent exposure to COVID-19, making them contagious, or if they have had and already gotten over the infection.

Many of these test kits have been compared to the gold standard of PCR (swab) tests and can detect specific antibodies with greater than 90 percent accuracy.

It is unwise to wait on a so-called FDA-approved rapid tests if the government is really serious about moving in the direction of re-opening the economy.

It seems to me that if the government had an urgent agenda of trying to open this economy, based on some evidential basis, they should allow the private sector (local labs and clinics) to initiate immediate rapid kit antibody testing using only very reliable kits from countries with high quality assurance standards.

In those who are found to have had and cleared the infection with 90 percent probability, they should be cleared to return to work.

This strategy can be used to reopen entire sectors of the economy, or not, in short order. For those who have no antibodies, they should remain in relative isolation with scheduled testing at intervals.

Of course, this would not be a viable option if the lack of testing allows the government to exercise its budding authoritarian tendencies to extend the lockdown indefinitely for some other purpose unknown to the general public.

Again, it is ridiculous to initiate and maintain curfews to prevent the spread of a disease in people who may have already had the disease and it is far better to make policy decisions using test(s) that can give a 90 percent probability, or greater, of recovery from infection than just pulling things out of the air.

It is also important to remember that old adage that says, “What is done in the dark always comes to light.”

— JB

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