Target COVID-19 hotspots

Dear Editor,

After the recent lockdown and restrictions announcements, it is time for the prime minister to take a bird’s eye view of his performance as the competent authority.

It is evident that he is oblivious to the pain and suffering of the people.

For several months, lockdowns, restrictions and the closing of parks and beaches have been the method mostly used to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, the economy is on the verge of collapsing. The virus continues to spread, and people are dying daily.

Someone once said you should not continue doing the same thing repeatedly and expect different outcomes.

A few weeks ago, the competent authority said he was pleased with the performance of the healthcare professionals, did not foresee any more lockdowns and would be placing more focus on areas where the virus is most prevalent.

But New Providence and Abaco have been locked down once again for the weekends, with no specific end date.

Both islands are being penalized because of these pocket geysers.

Prominent business professionals are expressing their concerns over the lockdowns, while businesses close their doors, not knowing when or if they will reopen, placing many jobs in jeopardy.

Prime minister, since you are placing more focus on the hotspots, in case you don’t know where they are, just ride through almost any corner from Wulff Road to Lewis Street between Market Street and East Street any day of the week, and you will be amazed at what you see.

Scores of adults and children gather without masks and not practicing social distancing.

These are the hotspots.

Shutting the islands down achieves nothing but shorter days/weeks, traffic jams, long lines at food stores and more exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The curfew only means more activity in fewer hours.

Have you ever thought about regular town hall meetings in these communities? Talk with the people on a more personal basis.

If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain.

Mr. Authority, you’re killing me with these lockdowns. My home swelters even though my fan is on 24/7, and my children stand in front of the fridge with the door open to cool off, while drinking up the last of the juice I bought with the voucher you give me.

My water is off, the cable is out and BPL threatens to shut me down if I don’t put something on my bill.

The thing about it is, I have been out of a job since March.

What am I supposed to do?

Thank God for families and friends, but they can only do so much because most of them are in the same predicament.

It hurts me to think about how my next-door neighbors are coping. They have four school-aged children, their electricity and water are off and both of them have been without a job similarly since March.

You said you are listening to the voice of the people, but that is debatable because if you are, the merchants, the young entrepreneurs, small businesses and the man on the street would not be at such a disadvantage.

To overcome this crisis, it is essential to achieve a balance between COVID-19 and the economy — something professionals have been advocating for quite a while.

But up to now, it appears as if most of the decisions are based mainly on what the health professionals put forth.

The business professionals’ voice seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Sir, we are hurting, and we are hurting badly. Most of us are living hand-to-mouth, one day at a time.

COVID-19 is not going anywhere soon, and until it does, we have to learn to stay on top of it.

We cannot continue to shut our doors on the weekends and hope the virus is gone when we open them on Monday.

Everyone is afraid of catching the coronavirus and no one wants to die from it.

However, not being able to take care of their families and not knowing where the next dollar is coming from can compromise one’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to the virus.

Please revisit your position on lockdowns and restrictions. Open up more businesses before the economy collapses altogether. Put the onus on everyone to follow COVID-19 protocol, and penalize those in contravention with harsh penalties.

Most assuredly, you will see a shift in the way we conduct ourselves because no one wants to go to prison.

Vigilance is the key to curbing COVID-19, and that does not mean locking up homeless people.

God save The Bahamas.

Anthony Pratt

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