Consistent nationwide approach needed to shutting down

Dear Editor, 

The government needs a consistent nationwide approach to shutting down.

The country has been shut down from outgoing to incoming traffic. That is good for an island state.

If people travel internally as well as from the outside, so can the virus. The country’s leaders need to be clear: Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere.

Until the case numbers start to go down across our country — which could take more than the weeks we have been closed already — no one can continue business as usual or relax the shutdown.

Any confusion about this point will only extend the economic pain, raise the odds that the virus will return, and cause more deaths.

The government needs to step up on testing.

Far more tests should be made available. We should also aggregate the results, so we can quickly identify potential volunteers for clinical trials and know with confidence when it’s time to return to normal.

Progress has been made on more efficient testing methods, such as the self-swab developed by the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, which allows patients to take a sample themselves without possibly exposing a health worker.

We don’t have a good handle on how many cases there are or where the virus is likely headed next, and it will be hard to know if it rebounds later.

The country needs clear priorities for who is tested.

First on the list should be people in essential roles such as health care workers and first responders, followed by highly symptomatic people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and those who are likely to have been exposed.

The same goes for masks and ventilators.

We know that all of these steps come at a great cost, but the loss of life and a prolonged timeframe to come back to “normal” on the other side will cost us all even more.

  Concerned Bahamian

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