Dec 24, 2020 News
By Kemol King
Kaieteur News – An examination of the current environment and COVID-19 statistics since March, paints a picture some would find promising: with the September to November period being the deadliest and most infectious months for Guyana, COVID-19 has slightly begun to abate. The number of new cases being detected is on a slight but noticeable decrease. The death rate is also decreasing. However, two new highly contagious COVID-19 cases detected in the United Kingdom are threatening to spread across the world very quickly. After a scary 10 months, Guyana awaits advice from its international partners on the way forward.
Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, had very early in the new government’s term discussed plans to reopen the economy, even though some international experts say the pandemic may last well into 2021, or even 2022. In the months following the new government’s term, testing spiked, new cases spiked, and so did deaths.
Twenty persons had died in July, and that almost doubled, to 39 in August. In September, 41 persons died. In October, 44 persons died – the deadliest month yet. In November, 27 people died – a lower but still startling figure as almost one person died every day. As of December 23, 11 people died this month from COVID-19.
These statistics reflect the efforts of the government of the day at any given point. The former APNU+AFC Government had announced early in April that it would be implementing emergency measures to tackle the pandemic, including a curfew, closure of a series of businesses, and bans on social activities. Otherwise, the country was focused for months on the contentious general and regional elections of 2020.
In those months, testing slowly began to increase, until August when the electoral process came to a close. In early August, the PPP/C took up office, and immediately noted deficiencies in the public health infrastructure to manage the pandemic. But despite ramping up testing, which gave a truer idea of the impact of the pandemic; the government slightly relaxed the curfew and decided to allow mining, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases in certain hinterland parts. A total of 893 cases were detected in August, then 1,588 in September. October and
November saw Guyana recording 1,268 and 1,244 more cases, respectively. A total of 852 cases have been recorded in December as of yesterday, representing a slightly lower detection rate than November.
Many have grown tired with the restriction COVID-19 has placed on their lives and have just about disregarded them. To others, the apparent decrease in figures – especially deaths – represents a sign that the depression COVID-19 has wrought on society will come to an end soon, especially since many countries have started taking in the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. But a second global wave appears to be on the horizon.
The United Kingdom recently recorded a sharp uptick in cases, and scientists have all but attributed it to a new strain of COVID-19 that is way more contagious. The UK government said that it is 70 percent more infectious. It was detected early in December, said UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. About 40 nations responded quickly by banning entry from travellers from the UK.
There is insufficient evidence yet to prove that the new strain is more deadly, but it has already spread to several countries. New cases have been confirmed in Denmark, Italy, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Australia, and South Africa. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) thinks it may have already arrived in the US in November and that many people could already be infected. Similarly, experts from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in New Delhi, India worry the strain could already be in the populous country.
On top of that, a yet more infectious variant of the various was detected in the UK, which was determined to have come from South Africa. That country is also studying the strain to determine whether it is responsible for a surge in cases there. The UK is considering even stricter, wider lockdown measures to curb the spread. Guyana is yet to decide whether it will return to stricter measures.
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