The numbers are grim. There is no other way of saying it.
Yesterday, we set records with the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases ever seen in T&T in a 24-hour period and the highest number of deaths with 11.
Another 615 people contracted the disease and now there are almost 4,600 active cases.
These are not just raw numbers, these are citizens paying the ultimate price that this virus extracts. It’s suffering and pain for those left behind, it is worry, work and heartbreak for healthcare workers, it is more strain on a parallel health system at breaking point.
Statistically, this means we should prepare ourselves for many more deaths and many more to be sickened to the extent that they will require hospitalisation.
On Tuesday, a grieving Vydia Rampaul, who had hours before lost her husband of 50 years, said: “I empathise with our Prime Minister because he is fighting a no-win battle. People are not listening. Friday I listened to his news conference and I agree with him 100 per cent. ‘If you don’t want to listen to what I am saying now tell me what you want me to do’. And I agree with our Prime Minister 100 per cent.”
Rampaul spoke of listening to Ministry of Health official Dr Michelle Trotman saying she “broke my heart because I could have seen her pain. People don’t know what they are doing to the doctors and nurses of this country.”
Rampaul added, “It is not fair, it is not right. Everybody wants to blame the Government but it all starts with one person doing what is the right thing. That is where it starts. Everybody wants to point fingers, now the time for pointing fingers has to stop because it begins with each and every one of us.”
We use Mrs Rampaul’s words extensively today because in the midst of her pain, grief and loss, she showed she was a citizen first. She had lost her husband but she does not want the country to lose the fight with the virus.
The time has perhaps come for the police to ensure that as far as is possible, all public health ordinance breaches are dealt with. It is unfair that the police must deal with irresponsible behaviour. We will also have to ensure that when people are held to account by the police they pay their fines, if the issuing of tickets for non-observance of the regulations is to be a meaningful deterrent.
We have been told to stay at home unless we are essential workers or have something essential to do. Failure to do so will lead to death.
We end with Mrs Rampaul’s statement. “I empathise with our Prime Minister, I feel sorry for him, because if he shuts down the country he will get blows, if he doesn’t shut down the country he will get blows, what is this poor man supposed to do? Tell me what is he supposed to do? What do you want from him? His blood? Is that what the population wants, they want to blame somebody? Blame yourself.”
Oh, if we would listen to one our of own ordinary citizens.