Editorials

Repair the breach

Breaches in a wall or defense make vulnerable to danger and loss those who rely on them for safety.

If The Bahamas is to successfully emerge from its second wave of COVID-19 and prevent a third, current breaches in its pandemic response must be repaired.

One such breach the competent authority should consider repairing is his current emergency order that permits social gatherings at private homes or facilities of as many as 20 people, on islands with no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Social gatherings are repeatedly flagged by health officials as potential super spreader events, and it would not be lost on officials that there can be asymptomatic carriers on these islands whose health status is not known because they have not been tested.

Moreover, social distancing and the proper wearing of masks at house parties cannot reasonably be expected, creating a breach in mitigation protocols that does not appear justifiable at a time when health officials have not yet declared the second wave to be under control.

The country’s uniformed branches are its key bastions of defense and protection, and as Ministry of Health data reveals, these branches collectively account for the highest proportion of contact exposures among all categories of exposure via the workplace.

A major breach that revealed itself this week came in the form of Police Commissioner Paul Rolle’s statement to reporters that the ministry did not afford him the courtesy of advising on how many of his officers were infected with COVID-19, and that he found out the extent thereof at the same time as the general public.

An incredible disclosure by Rolle inarguably, and one that cuts to the heart of why areas of cluster transmission had the ability to fester into becoming key contributors to the ongoing second wave.

Heads of uniformed branches and other high-traffic essential service sectors should be in regular communication with health officials to be informed of confirmed infection and exposure levels of workers, and to be guided on appropriate courses of action.

As a matter of established protocol, such communication should also exist so that agency heads can be informed of emerging guidance on known modes of transmission for COVID-19, and how best to reduce risk through the acquisition of personal protective equipment best suited for one’s job function, and the proper use thereof.

An additional breach in the country’s COVID-19 defenses is the lack of a national compliance unit, that if adequately staffed, trained and resourced, could assist businesses and the government in safely reopening the domestic economy, and keeping it open.

The retail sector is said by current data to have been the fifth largest workplace contributor to contact exposure in the second wave, and though businesses are given mandates via emergency orders, there remains a nebulous cloud of uncertainty about best practices for keeping COVID-19 under control once the economy opens up.

A well-established compliance unit of trained civilians can serve as a catalyst for keeping businesses informed and on track with health guidelines, thereby aiding the government in managing its mitigation objectives.

Meantime, with at least 45 percent of COVID-19 exposures coming from one’s relatives in the second wave, one of the critical breaches in our fight against the virus is in the way we interact with one another.

While it is true that many are adhering to safety guidelines, there are still some — both young and not so young — who are not, and can very well become asymptomatic carriers who bring the illness home to vulnerable relatives.

As we stated at the outset of the pandemic response, each of us must act to protect ourselves as well as others, if we are to keep infection rates at a manageable level.

This requires a level of consistent selflessness that many are regrettably not accustomed to in today’s society.

But if there can be any good arising from this crisis, let it be in us honing our adaptability into valuing one another enough to bear manageable inconveniences that can help reduce everyone’s risk.

In that way, we too will be repairers of the breach. 

reaches in a wall or defense make vulnerable to danger and loss those who rely on them for safety.

If The Bahamas is to successfully emerge from its second wave of COVID-19 and prevent a third, current breaches in its pandemic response must be repaired.

One such breach the competent authority should consider repairing is his current emergency order that permits social gatherings at private homes or facilities of as many as 20 people, on islands with no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Social gatherings are repeatedly flagged by health officials as potential super spreader events, and it would not be lost on officials that there can be asymptomatic carriers on these islands whose health status is not known because they have not been tested.

Moreover, social distancing and the proper wearing of masks at house parties cannot reasonably be expected, creating a breach in mitigation protocols that does not appear justifiable at a time when health officials have not yet declared the second wave to be under control.

The country’s uniformed branches are its key bastions of defense and protection, and as Ministry of Health data reveals, these branches collectively account for the highest proportion of contact exposures among all categories of exposure via the workplace.

A major breach that revealed itself this week came in the form of Police Commissioner Paul Rolle’s statement to reporters that the ministry did not afford him the courtesy of advising on how many of his officers were infected with COVID-19, and that he found out the extent thereof at the same time as the general public.

An incredible disclosure by Rolle inarguably, and one that cuts to the heart of why areas of cluster transmission had the ability to fester into becoming key contributors to the ongoing second wave.

Heads of uniformed branches and other high-traffic essential service sectors should be in regular communication with health officials to be informed of confirmed infection and exposure levels of workers, and to be guided on appropriate courses of action.

As a matter of established protocol, such communication should also exist so that agency heads can be informed of emerging guidance on known modes of transmission for COVID-19, and how best to reduce risk through the acquisition of personal protective equipment best suited for one’s job function, and the proper use thereof.

An additional breach in the country’s COVID-19 defenses is the lack of a national compliance unit, that if adequately staffed, trained and resourced, could assist businesses and the government in safely reopening the domestic economy, and keeping it open.

The retail sector is said by current data to have been the fifth largest workplace contributor to contact exposure in the second wave, and though businesses are given mandates via emergency orders, there remains a nebulous cloud of uncertainty about best practices for keeping COVID-19 under control once the economy opens up.

A well-established compliance unit of trained civilians can serve as a catalyst for keeping businesses informed and on track with health guidelines, thereby aiding the government in managing its mitigation objectives.

Meantime, with at least 45 percent of COVID-19 exposures coming from one’s relatives in the second wave, one of the critical breaches in our fight against the virus is in the way we interact with one another.

While it is true that many are adhering to safety guidelines, there are still some — both young and not so young — who are not, and can very well become asymptomatic carriers who bring the illness home to vulnerable relatives.

As we stated at the outset of the pandemic response, each of us must act to protect ourselves as well as others, if we are to keep infection rates at a manageable level.

This requires a level of consistent selflessness that many are regrettably not accustomed to in today’s society.

But if there can be any good arising from this crisis, let it be in us honing our adaptability into valuing one another enough to bear manageable inconveniences that can help reduce everyone’s risk.

In that way, we too will be repairers of the breach. 

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