COVID-19 no respecter of socioeconomic status

Dear Editor,

As of August 20, the United States of America has a total of 5,550,029 confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 173,306 deaths.

Among the casualties are a list of prominent personalities, inclusive of Hollywood celebrities, artists and musicians.

Nick Cordero, Trini Lopez, John Prine, Manu Dibango, Lee Fierro, Adam Schlesinger, Mark Blum, Terrance McNally, Joe Diffie, Alan Merrill and Andrew Jack are just a few of the big names to succumb to COVID-19.

On July 30, it was announced that former African American Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain also succumbed to the novel coronavirus.

Political pundits have theorized that Cain contracted the disease at a July 20 President Donald Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the BOK Center, amid reports by the Tulsa City-County Health Department that there has been a dramatic surge of COVID-19 infections in Oklahoma due to the Trump event and its accompanying protests.

Whether or not there is any truth to this theory of Cain’s aliment, the 74-year-old former CEO of the fast food franchise Godfather’s Pizza, did not wear a mask at the rally.

I have noticed that many of the celebrities who have passed away were senior citizens — a demographic that is most at risk for contracting severe illness due to COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.

Here in The Bahamas, we seem to be facing a similar situation, with several prominent Bahamians contracting the virus.

The Nassau Guardian broke the news yesterday that Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis was being flown to the United States to seek further treatment for the coronavirus he recently contracted.

Another high ranking PLP official, Senator Dr. Michael Darville, also has COVID-19, and is hospitalized.

Interestingly, Darville is co-chair of the PLP COVID-19 Task Force.

Free National Movement (FNM) MP for Central and South Eleuthera Hank Johnson is hospitalized with COVID-19.

The rumor of Johnson’s illness began to circulate on the same day Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a restrictive seven-day lockdown for New Providence, which was subsequently eased up due to mounting pressure.

Minnis’ abrupt announcement was probably partly influenced by the news of his three parliamentary colleagues being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Attempting to implement austere measures to curb COVID-19, Minnis’ decision appears to have been aimed at preventing the death of more Bahamians.

Whatever the case may be, moving forward, Minnis needs to engage his Cabinet, backbenchers and the official opposition instead of appearing to be only consulting Ministry of Health and COVID-19 Task Force officials, as the current modus operandi is creating too much hostility towards his administration, which has prompted some to call for an election – as if such would cause COVID-19 to go away and the economy to magically return to its pre-COVID-19 form.

Failure to engage Parliament could cause COVID-19 to be the FNM’s Waterloo, as it appears to be the case with Trump, who is currently trailing Democratic party presidential candidate Joe Biden in many polls.

With Davis, Darville and Johnson being ill with COVID-19, the virus is hammering home the point that it has very little regard for our socioeconomic status.

As Bahamians, we must forget about political differences and pray fervently for the speedy recovery of the three politicians and the over 1,300 individuals battling COVID-19.

Kevin Evans

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