Jun 27, 2020 Editorial
We think that, other than the hotspots of Regions 1 and 7, implementation of a phased reopen should be readied now. It is not premature to think of reopening slowly, gradually, cautiously. A reasonable expectation is reopening early in July in slightly affected regions. It is a guarded expectation, which hinges upon how circumstances favour such contemplations. At the crux is how to weigh and balance, correctly, wise safety measures, with a view to kick starting the national economy back into some form of life.
Undoubtedly, the health and safety of the whole population are of utmost significance. Neither is to be given short thrift, nor subject to any ideas of reopening for the sake of reopening, or of appearing to be on top of events though manifesting daring leadership initiative, while gambling with fate. For that would be the height of unwise and irresponsible leadership decision-making. It would be the most unacceptable of rationales.
Presently, aside from Regions 1 and 7, there is a slow trickle of new cases. Also comforting are the days when there are no new cases. We note that the death rate remains in an almost flat pattern. May both confirmed cases and death rate stay just where they are: near zero! Also, given local disdain for the prudent precautions of social distancing and curfews, any expectation of achieving the standard of 21 days without any new cases appears remote.
Accordingly, there are some grounds for decisive action from those steering the ship of state. It is our position that if other variables, those not talked about much in this country, are all heading in the right direction, then it is time for limited reopening for a start. Among those other variables would be: lower ICU hospitalizations, lower coronavirus related hospital admissions, lower intubations, and a generally declining volume of calls to the hotlines about fears of sickness from the COVID-19 virus. We recommend that should the lower numbers be in tandem across these carefully watched measurements, then reopening should be rolled out and executed efficiently.
But before there is moving to there, there also ought to be prudent considerations by Guyana’s health authorities of the intangibles. More specifically, that there is official confidence in the fallback options should any early July reopening prove to be a long step attempted too quickly. Those fallback options include: the availability of supporting systems and equipment to enable rapid reversing of course and quick applying of the brakes on proceeding any further. At this time, those domestic authorities studying the coronavirus presence, its potential worst-case scenario reach, the quantity, and reliability of available supplies should be confident as to what could be delivered.
When what is in hand harmonizes with the decreasing presence of the virus, there would be justified premises on which to move toward a partial retreat from the restrictions in place. We say this, even with concerns over alarming developments in Moruca, and Aranka. It is a tightrope walked, with lives involved.
To repeat: reopening considerations must be implemented cautiously, gradually, and wisely. It would be better to err on the side of caution than to be accused of poor judgments or hurrying. This country has experienced much of this in many sectors of life. Today, it can ill-afford any of this in this delicate and challenging time.
For this is a pandemic that confines not one person or one area or one pursuit. Rather, it has left the disastrous in many places across the globe, including Guyana, with damaging winds that punish not only the health sector, but brings everything else to a crippling halt. Workers are not earning (GuySuCo menaced), businesses are not turning over (restricted), and the State is not collecting (extensions approved). Entire societies suffocate under many burdens from dealing with pandemic seizures.
Guyana is no exception and is hurting still more when compared to other places. This is due to our sticky and unceasing electoral troubles that hang over the nation’s head and hobble us. Guyanese need to get back on track, to resume some state of normal existence, and early.
We hope that the coronavirus will retreat, and that this will advance the timeline to restart living normal again.
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