By Dr. Zulfikar Bux
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center
Over the past two weeks, there have been protests for the unfortunate deaths of youths who were murdered in Berbice. While the murders are unsolved, it is disheartening that such barbaric acts are being committed on youths in a once peaceful society. I chose to live in West Berbice because of the peaceful nature of the place. Within the past two years, I have seen this district transform from a passive environment to one with racial disunity, gruesome murders, constant interpersonal violence and robberies, and the hub for disruption of roadway traffic. What is also worrying, is the fact that there were large gatherings during the protests which cannot augur well for us given the nature of this pandemic.
The virus thrives in such environments
I had pleaded previously for us to not gather in crowds to celebrate or protest the outcome of the elections. My plead was because of what I knew and what I’m seeing daily with this pandemic. The virus loves gatherings as it’s the best medium for it to spread and cause a quick surge in cases. Persons tend to find it difficult to wear masks in the heat during protests and yell loudly to get their voices heard. Others tend to wipe their faces of sweat given the high temperatures and tense nature of the surroundings. All of these are factors that hasten the spread of the coronavirus from person to person. I worry that we will be seeing a surge in infections this week from the places where the protests occurred. This surge will spill over and hasten the spread of the infection throughout the country. Should this happen at an unprecedented rate, I fear that it will break our medical system and many more lives will be lost.
Who’s at risk?
It’s fair to say that everyone that gathered at the protests are now at risk of having COVID-19. While most may have a strong immune response and have a milder form of the disease, others will not be so lucky and may have the severe form and even die. Persons that returned home with the virus will expose their relatives and friends to it. The elderly and those with other medical conditions will fear worse with the infection and may become the indirect casualties from COVID-19 infections acquired during the protests.
Is it too late for us?
That is a question I battle with every day. I do not have a clear answer, but I fear that it may be coming to such a scenario, given the reckless behaviours that I see daily. The protest actions especially in Region 5, were the most reckless acts thus far. While we were all aggrieved, our demonstrations were reckless and irresponsible and we only have ourselves to blame should this pandemic get out of control in Guyana. The experiences over the past two weeks caused more separation and destruction to our nation. We still have to live and coexist no matter our race, culture or political inclination. If we continue to destroy the environment that we depend on for survival, then there will come a point where each and every one of us cannot thrive. A sensible person will realize that we can only sustain our livelihood if we work together to build our nation and fight this virus together. Let’s be responsible and sensible and do what matters; Guyana matters!
Oct 19, 2020By Sean Devers Kaieteur News – ‘Government plans to stay connected to Guyanese despite Political loyalties’ these were the words of the Honourable Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport...
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – A noteworthy event occurred on the afternoon of Saturday October 10, that could... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]