Kaieteur News – By the end of the month of October, a mere two weeks away, another 20 persons may die from the novel coronavirus. This is based on the large number of cases which has been registered over the past two weeks.
On the last day of September there were 2,894 positive cases. Two weeks into the new month, the number of cases increased to 3,589. This means that in the first 14 days of the month 694 persons tested positive for the virus. This should give you an idea of why there will continue to be more deaths before the month is ended.
The government knows it too. In fact from the moment they took the decision to not shut the country down after they assumed office, they knew that this decision would literally have deadly consequences. They know that more tests would mean more positive cases and more deaths. But they also ought to have known that with the reopening of the economy, the death rate would increase.
This is why in recent days the government has become so defensive. They are drumming into people’s head that the hardships associated with a lockdown would be unbearable at this time. They know better. They know that while a lockdown will create hardships, this is not as worse a fate than the grief which will visit dozens of families because they have lost a loved one to the virus because the government refuses to tighten social restrictions.
The government is also claiming that it attempting to balance safety with the need to protect people’s livelihoods. In other words, it is attempting to balance the economic and health considerations of the pandemic. This defensiveness is probably the best clue that the government expects more deaths in the days and weeks ahead.
It has taken the government more than two months and still it cannot get the testing right. It has now reduced the time for tests results down to less than an hour. This is good news finally. But with the reopening of the airport, the capacity of the National Reference Laboratory is going to be sorely tested.
Testing machines which have been ordered are reportedly lost in transit or coming on a slow train from the Far East. The status of the gene testing machines has not yet been announced nor whether the cartridges to operate these machines have been sourced.
The virus’ spread is now affecting all Regions. And yet, there is no testing capacity within the Regions. Imagine someone in a remote community in Region Nine has to travel miles and days to be tested and then having to wait a few more days while the test results are sent to Georgetown. By the time the test results are obtained that person’s health may have seriously deteriorated because of the lack of a diagnosis.
No regional strategies have been unveiled. This is so vital to containing the spread of the disease that its absence is a shocking case of negligence. This pandemic cannot be contained without regional strategies. Ask China. They are still the amazing example of how the spread of the virus was suppressed.
China remains Guyana’s best hope for bringing the pandemic under control. Guyana should not be asking the Chinese for ventilators. The chance of surviving after being placed on a ventilator is nothing to shout about.
China is now the best hope for an early vaccine. Even if the Americans beat them to it, there is no guarantee that any American, or for that matter British vaccine, is going to reach Guyana before next March. By that time more than 600 Guyanese would have expired from the virus.
Guyana cannot wait therefore on the Americans or the British vaccines. China is our best shot. Their Phase three tests are advanced and they are now a frontrunner to produce a vaccine. Close to half a million persons have already taken one of the vaccines being developed in China and close to another 100,000 more were expected to be inoculated this week as part of the ongoing trials. News report quote Chinese officials as saying that a vaccine should be available either early November or December which is far earlier than other countries with the exception of Russia.
Without a vaccine by the end of this year, the country’s health system is likely to be overwhelmed. And so too will be plots in the cemetery.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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