Frank looking for some old ice factory workers
Kaieteur News – The Health Minister is now looking for people with expertise in vaccine and the cold chain. He should try Weiting and Richter. They have been selling ice for a long time.
This must be a case of misreporting. After all, Guyana should have been prepared for a long time with its vaccine rollout plan as it has long been known that both frontal vaccines require cold storage.
The United Kingdom is now in its third week of vaccine administration. The United States is about to launch its COVID-19 vaccination program. Guyana is still looking for cold storage units, and now we are also told of people with experience in vaccines.
The government says it is preparing for local immunization. But he can’t even give a projected date. He has previously said he is ordering more testing machines. Those machines took a very long time to get here. It should be hoped that the vaccines do not come on the same ship that came with the PCR testing kits.
In all countries where there have been coronavirus infections, the government is advised by epidemiologists – individuals who are considered experts in the incidence and possible distribution and control of diseases. Those epidemiologists are known in all of those countries except Guyana.
So far one had identified the epidemiologists advising the Health Minister. The media has not asked who Dr. Local Fauci.
If the Health Minister is following the advice of his epidemiologists, then he should know by now that this advice is not working. Yesterday, there were 46 more cases with seven seriously ill in the Intensive Care Unit.
Daily and weekly case numbers and active cases are decreasing, but far too slowly. For December, to date, 756 new cases have been identified. For the comparable period in November there were 931 new cases, about two more cases on average each day than December. So the reduction can be considered marginal. There have been eight deaths so far. Last month, there were 23 deaths but a further nine days to go. Even if we can hold deaths down to 15 for this month, this will only be a marginal improvement. Active causes have been declining but not steep enough for anyone to breathe a sigh of relief.
The strategy – if you can call it that – doesn’t work. Dr. Frank Anthony knows that by now. Testing capacity should now be close to 1,200 a day but, at most, the country is testing about a third of its capacity. Given the availability of antigen testing, it now appears that testing is still an issue.
The positivity rate is still above 15 percent. This shows that testing is still well below where it should be. And while it is understandable that Guyana has had very low levels of testing between March and August and even though tens of thousands more tests have been done since then, the positivity rate is still far too high to conclude that adequate testing is taking place.
The Health Minister needs to rethink his strategy. If it looks at what’s going on in the world, the tendency is that the opening of the economy has collided with colder weather, which means more people are inside. Infections are increasing and countries in Europe have been forced to close.
Guyana cases are also on the rise. We don’t get cold weather but we do have Christmas and no one needs a crystal ball to predict what is going to happen over the next week or so. Next week, there will be a surge in reported cases as those infected this week begin to show symptoms and be tested. The cycle will continue. Tests have not and will not be sufficient to arrest the situation.
The President has established what he calls the Rapid Response Unit. This is about tackling people’s problems. Yet in his wisdom, he could not find in his arsenal of policies to establish regional and community COVID-19 Rapid Response Units.
This failure indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic is not being treated as a national emergency. We have Rapid Response Units to help people get their NIS pensions and birth certificates, but the most important issue is one that has resulted in the death of 159 people and this column predicted that it would result in 150 people further deaths before mass immunization takes place.
While Dr. Anthony seeking his specialty in cold chain and vaccination, Task Force COVID-19 should order the immediate establishment of community and regional response task forces. This should be formulated immediately to aid risky behavioral identities, ensure COVID-19 regulations are implemented and assist with contact tracking.
Dr. Anthony also advised his quick response President that the time had come at least a little close. The country should go into lockdown from midnight on Christmas Eve. The lockout, with the exception of essential businesses and government services, should not be lifted until January 2, 2021. This week’s lock-in process, while adequate, will not breach the Treasury. But it should help reduce the spread over what otherwise promises to be a super-dispersed Christmas holiday.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)