If the new variant is in Guyana, God help us!
Kaieteur News – Civil society and opposition political parties should join forces and demand an immediate overhaul of the government’s COVID-19 response strategy. That plan is not working and it is high time the government recognized the failure of the strategy.
Since the beginning of this year, there has been an alarming increase in the number of new cases. So far for this month, Guyana is on average a staggering 40 cases a day. This is more than 30 per cent higher than the daily average recorded for December.
The situation is not improving. The daily average has remained above 40 cases for September, October and November. In December there was a decline but the daily average has again climbed to more than 40 cases a day.
The number of active cases, which looked promising at 355 cases, has more than doubled in recent weeks. As of yesterday, the number of active cases was 754.
The rapid increase in new cases this month highlights the need for the government to quickly check whether there is a new variation. If this happens, then we can expect even more deaths.
Guyana has a staggering 2.5 death rate per 100 infected people. For January to date, there have been 1,138 new cases. We can consider ourselves lucky if there isn’t a big increase in deaths over the next two weeks.
If the new variant of the virus is in Guyana, God help us! The deaths and infections will rise further and faster.
The PPP / C like the APNU + AFC has adopted the foolish excuse that people have to be more responsible. Of course, people should be more responsible. But isn’t it the purpose of government not to impose such responsibility?
What is the purpose of having social restrictions? It aims to bring people into compliance to achieve their intended objectives. So the Government is absurd when it continues to insist that people keep to social constraints, knowing that it has done little to enforce these restrictions.
Ironically, the government remains the biggest criminal of its own social constraints, holding huge gatherings with large numbers of people present without adequate social distance.
Yet supporters and non-government supporters continue to call on citizens to act more responsibly. Sure they do, but the government also needs to be taking action when citizens do not and also to implement things like locksmiths to break the spikes of new cases.
The government’s argument against shutting down is because people and business will suffer. They point to the five-month period when businesses closed during the time of the election and with very low testing as contributing to a situation where the internal economy could have a flat lining.
However, the government fails to recognize that lock-down is one of the few options available to it to protect the country’s economic health. Vaccinations will not stop the pandemic.
The number of vaccines, which we will initially receive under COVAX may be enough to vaccinate healthcare workers. And given that the high-risk age group in Guyana starts from age 55 – unlike other countries starting at age 65 – many more vaccines than we will get from COVAX will have an initial need.
Tightly implemented and strictly enforced Lockdowns will help save the economy. If the current number of new cases continues, even vaccinating the whole country will save us. The new infections must be dramatically slowed down over the next few months if Guyana is to avoid having to shut the whole country down.
The Barbadian government makes no excuses. He has agreed to lock down. Barbados is set to close two weeks from next Wednesday. It has had more than 1,000 new cases for January, which is far less than we had. But it takes decisive action.
It may come as a surprise to many Guyanese that as of January 27, Barbados has 1,443 cases, compared to more than 7,000 cases of Guyana. It has 10 deaths compared to 175 Guyana.
And yet, unlike our liberal governments, the Barbadian government is moving quickly to ensure that what has happened in Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica does not happen there.
That is called leadership. We prefer to hang on the sinking ship, we call it governments.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)