Davis slams govt on handling of pandemic

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday The Bahamas is doing the worst in the region in fighting COVID-19, and added the government should be ashamed of the little progress made.

“If you’re talking about around the world, don’t compare yourself to around the world,” said Davis, who returned to the House of Assembly for the first time since he recovered from COVID-19.

“Insofar as around the world is concerned, we are in last place as to how we’re dealing with it. I don’t want to get into that. We’re in last place. We are the worst off in the region in handling COVID.”

However, Minister of Health Renward Wells insisted that The Bahamas is doing well in its fight against COVID, saying the case fatality rate is currently at 2.3 percent.

“When you look at that, Mr. Speaker, that is in the top tier of the one percent globally. The rate goes anywhere from 0.1 percent to 20 percent. And it speaks to your capacity in the healthcare system to be able to deal with those persons presenting with COVID-19.”

Only Barbados, Cuba and Haiti have higher case fatality rates in the region other than The Bahamas.

Barbados has notably had far fewer cases than The Bahamas, with 190 confirmed so far and seven deaths. At the beginning of July, The Bahamas had 104 confirmed COVID cases and 11 deaths.

While Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have had more confirmed COVID-19 cases than The Bahamas, they have both recorded fewer deaths. 

Davis said the test positivity rate of more than 20 percent is another sign of the government’s inability to contain the virus. He noted that the World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of less than five percent.

Davis also said there was not sufficient testing or contact tracing capacity to handle the early cases in the second wave.

“There was not enough testing or tracing in place to stop a few cases from turning into a few thousand,” he said.

“When the borders opened, what was the number of cases? Today, it is over 4,000.”

Davis added, “One month after our borders were reopened, the COVID-19 virus was spreading rapidly throughout our islands.

“This was not the case in many other countries. I point you to Barbados and other countries in our region, which have not experienced anything close to the scale of the outbreak we have seen and are now seeing here.

“This spread in infection resulted in thousands of Bahamians contracting the virus over the past few months along with fellow Parliamentarians and members of staff of this place.”

Davis continued, “As long as the virus continues to spread, our people and our economy will remain in crisis. So, it is imperative that the government learn from past mistakes.

“We can do much better than this. We must do much better than this. All our lives depend on it.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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