Stay home if there's no need to go out, and wear a mask if you do. Keep a physical distance from the next person, forget the bars, birthday parties, neighbourly limes, visiting uncle, auntie, nanny, and nennen. Skip the weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties—in short, don’t congregate. Even when you do all these things, there's no guarantee you wouldn't get COVID. Managing the pandemic calls for disciplined behaviour, which is something many aren’t comfortable with.
It is incredible that with the click of a mouse one can research facts, yet many people think that closing borders and national lockdowns aren't necessary and are part of some nefarious government agenda to control us. Yet, they can’t explain why would any government maliciously choose to lock down a country, knowing the serious economic and social consequences. They advocate that lockdowns aren’t necessary, that there's nothing scientific about wearing masks. Others use valid arguments about the negative effects on children’s emotional development, the fear, stress, depression, anxiety levels experienced by individuals and families, and the increase in domestic violence. Certainly, these situations are concerning, but what is the alternative to curtailing the rate of the virus spreading and death. The H1N1 pandemic of 1918 flattened over 500 million people and took 50 million lives.
The world is literally fighting a war against a virus that’s causing death and catastrophe. What are the options to lockdowns if people refuse to take voluntary measures to protect themselves and respect the health and lives of others? If we heed the COVID regulations, we’re more likely to weather the virus storm with less pain and suffering in the long run, and without overwhelming the health system.
The Government is obligated to ensure that the health system isn't swamped by COVID patients to the detriment of others needing critical care. It is not only a matter of caring for people with the virus; resources must be available to support the normal daily flow of patients who need healthcare for heart problems, cancer and other illnesses, and accident victims.
There’s a choice to be made: Either face a situation like India and Brazil by letting the recent sharp rise of infections continue without intervention, resulting in the health system collapse, high death rates, and catastrophe, with consequential business closures, job losses, and hunger among the most vulnerable. It makes sense to take lockdown blows in the short-term for brighter prospects in the medium to longer term.
Based on reports from the World Health Organization and other authorities, COVID-19 is here to stay, but it will become less deadly, transforming from the current pandemic stage to the usual seasonal, endemic flu stage. We must learn to live with it. There's no magic bullet to prevent it from infecting all of us over time however, vaccinations will reduce its severity and the incidence of deaths.
COVID has shown up the fragility of small economies, as it has highlighted the clout of high-income economies to stockpile crucial supplies, leaving others scrambling to protect their citizens. Reportedly, rich countries secured about 53 per cent of all doses although they account for about 14 per cent of the global population.
As said in a previous article, COVID-19 has taught many lessons and revealed deep socio-economic and ethnic fissures, globally. What lessons have we learned? Why must we always rely on someone else’s largesse and innovation? There’s no space to explore those questions in this article, suffice it to say that the region, through UWI, has the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, which has a laudable vision about “transforming lives through innovative research and effective health interventions.” What is the result? Regional governments have invested billions in education, but many of our talented people migrate to other shores where they thrive under working conditions conducive to innovation, productivity and career advancement. Some are employed with leading institutions, researching and developing cures for the world. They made a choice between opportunities to explore their “native genius,” and the frustration of inefficient, stifling and divisive systems. There’s a lack of regional collaboration to find resolutions to thorny issues affecting the region and to realise the potential of CARICOM.
Let us heed the lessons of COVID-19, and the lockdown regulations.