COVID-19 and the damage inflicted by growing uncertainty 

Dear Editor,

The advent of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus has upended everything and everyone’s plans for the present and for the future worldwide.

Here at home, we are between a rock and a very hard place. This is the so-called flu season and when compounded with the known symptoms of COVID-19, the average Bahamian may well be confused and perplexed beyond measure.

What exactly is coronavirus and where did it in fact come from?

What are the recommended “cures” besides isolation and medical treatment in severe cases?

Has/is the administration doing a good job at educating our people and providing them with the tools to combat this epidemic?

Is social distancing really working locally and are people adhering to the same religiously?

Why are there numerous cases of panic buying and long lines at food stores with few, if any, police and defense force officers in sight?

The nation is in lockdown except for urgent and necessary matters.

It is being speculated that this lockdown may well be extended by another few weeks.

One is able to understand the rationale behind this but is this a guarantee that all future cases of potential COVID-19 will be eliminated or reduced to the irreducible minimum? No one in authority is saying anything about this. When will it be safe to declare the “all clear” for the average Bahamian? How long will this situation exist based on scientific models?

The above are just a few of the questions that many are asking and seeking sensible answers to.

The uncertainty is probably causing more anxiety than the possibility of one contracting the virus. It has been suggested that COVID-19 is akin to influenza or the common cold, from which tens of thousands of people worldwide die each year. While the common flu is also contagious, it does not appear to be as deadly as this new coronavirus.

Another vexing issue is that of personal finance.

It is commonly recommended that a working individual should ideally have about three months’ worth of potential income and/or savings to tide one and his/her family over during national and personal emergencies.

The Bahamas has been in the economic dog house for a number of years.

We have long pretended that we are a First World nation and spent lavishly on all sorts of totally unnecessary items and fetishes. The proverbial chicken has now come home to roost.

Acknowledging that the majority of Bahamians are not economically braced for the long-term effects of the coronavirus, what is the government doing to alleviate the looming economic hardship that may well decimate the finances of tens of thousands of people?

The politicians and their allies will be fine, I suppose, but the casual workers or those who had no employment prior to the arrival of this debilitating virus are set to catch economic and mental hell in short order.

What will be done by the individual churches where congregants were tithing and storing up in the store house for these many years?

I encourage churches where possible to reach out to their membership and offer each a $100 food and a $25 gas voucher on a one-time or perhaps monthly basis, depending on the length and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now is the time for the churches to demonstrate Christian charity and agape love. I have no doubt that the pastors and first ladies are straight.

A wonderful book was written by the late Frantz Fanon which chronicled the emergence of the Pan African movement and throwing off the shackles of colonialism.

The coronavirus will usher in a new age of colonialism in that all nations are now going to become dependent on each other. The world’s economies have gone south and will not be coming back north anytime soon.

Survival of the fittest will become the norm if it was not before.

The uncertainty is going to inflict more damage than any other factor.

I look forward to a comprehensive and sensible economic stimulus package by the administration.

In the same vein, I fully expect the Progressive Liberal Party and its leadership to come up with viable alternatives.

It is no use simply saying that Minnis and crew may be short on solutions, long and short term, if you yourself do little or nothing to ensure that we all emerge from this hot mess in one piece.

I am more than persuaded that if one has not yet found and embraced spiritualism, he/she would more than likely do so now.

It is my proposition that focused prayers to the Lord God will avail us well and even beyond measure.

To God then, in all of these vexing things, be the glory.

Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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