In his 8 p.m. national address on Monday, the prime minister confirmed just how detached he is from the realities of this COVID-19 “fight” and its impact on individuals in this country. And consistently and predictably, he showed his lack of mental dexterity in tackling the varied arms of this problem.
While he and other parliamentarians collect their monthly checks from the public treasury, there are many who have not worked for almost five months now. People are hurting.
However, this did not stop “we” prime minister from deciding to initiate a lockdown for the island of New Providence, effective immediately, giving no consideration to the masses who may not have had an opportunity to get to the grocery stores for food and water.
Had the prime minister not reversed course, we would have no doubt read reports of hungry individuals being hauled before the courts and fined for straying out of their homes to find a meal.
As a person who is directly impacted by the decisions of the incompetent authoritarian, there are several things I believe the prime minister or a member of his health team should explain.
Firstly, why are there approximately 10 times as many confirmed cases of COVID-19 during this competent authority-induced second wave of viral infections, with significantly lower mortality as compared to the first wave of infections? Have they had viruses from the different “waves” compared to determine if this is a different strain?
An article on July 16 in Scientific American highlighted a study that proposed the idea of a mutation in the novel coronavirus that makes it more contagious in a second wave, but less likely to result in death. Our anecdotal experience thus far seems to suggest this can be a possibility. If this is the case, are these radical lockdowns really necessary?
Secondly, it is alleged that the purpose of these lockdowns is to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives, but why continue to lockdown those who may have already had the virus from the first wave?
Again, I raise the question of why no antibody testing is allowed. Who is the primary beneficiary of PCR-only testing? Consider that, to date, there are over 21 million cases of coronavirus in the world thus far and no clear evidence to suggest a confirmed case of a person being infected a second time.
I had previously made this point in a letter to the editor several months ago.
In an excellent July 22 article in the New York Times, the point was made that based on current evidence, it is extremely unlikely that a person can be reinfected with COVID-19 and many cases of so-called reinfection were simply drawn out cases of the initial infection.
If a person is unlikely to be reinfected, then shouldn’t those who have already been infected and recovered be exempt from these draconian lockdowns? How can we know who they are without antibody testing?
This seems like a point of argument about the constitutionality of these lockdowns for some, but with all this information currently available, why are such unenlightened decisions being made?
All of the blame for the spread of COVID-19 cannot be allowed to rest solely on the shoulders of the “unruly” Bahamian people; the government must acknowledge some of its policies and inefficiencies are equally as culpable.
After all this time, the government has not realized that its cloth mask idea was an abysmal failure as many of those masks do not fit the wearer properly. It seems likely that an exposed nose or mouth may increase the likelihood of a person breathing in the virus, but have they amended that policy?
I have also seen persons wearing face shields without a mask. This is highly suggestive of the fact that the messaging from public health over the past five months has not been as effective as it might have hoped.
In addition, during the first wave of infections, there were reports of persons being told that they should self-isolate after having called the COVID hotline, but not being followed up with or referred for testing. I personally know persons who have had that experience during this current wave as well!
The question, then, becomes how many infectious persons have been given the runaround by the healthcare system to unwittingly become super spreaders as they go about their daily routine?
How many have been turned away from South Beach Clinic because their symptoms were too mild? How has the Monday, Wednesday and Friday shopping with its bottlenecking of shoppers contributed to the unabated spread of this virus? Only God knows.
Lastly, since the obvious is often missed by our leaders, I feel compelled to state it: the inevitable consequence of continued lockdowns, apart from the financial ruin of many, will be to turn honest men into desperate lawbreakers as they seek to survive! That may well become this prime minister’s legacy!