By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Late Wednesday evening, January 19, 2022, the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs confirmed 451 new cases of COVID-19, processed on Monday, January 18, 2022, from a total of 975 samples of which 928 samples, are well below the ability to test up to 2,000 persons in one day.
According to data released by the ministry of health, January 19:
“The samples were collected from January 15, 2022, to January 18, 2022. These new cases bring the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date to 18, 322. The number of positive cases makes up 46.26 percent of all the samples processed on that date.
“Active cases in the country to date is 3, 650. Currently, there are 35 positive cases of COVID-19 admitted at the respiratory hospital, of which two of them are severely ill.
A total of 50, 711 individuals have been fully vaccinated. Another 6, 046 are partially vaccinated and 5, 628 have received their booster shot.”
The COVID-19 trend continues with an interesting observation, by commentator Nooks:
“Incompetence at its finest! Last year 2021, school opened on January 7 with great haste on the part of education minister Gale Rigobert, Fiona Mayer chief education officer and chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Sharon Belmar-George, only to be closed days after! In 2022, school opened on January 10 with great haste on the part of Shawn Edward, Fiona Mayer and Sharon Belmar-George! There are common factors in this equation, common misteps, common issues despite which party is in power! Incompetence and lack of “balls” to speak up! Mweh Fashay!
In the article, COVID-19 impedes re-opening of school in St Lucia, published January 18, Caribbean News Global (CNG) submitted that given “additional response measures put in place in anticipation of the increase in infections, including strengthening of public health measures; strengthening of the immunization program island-wide; enhanced testing capacity to manage increasing cases by increasing procurement of reagents and test kits; respiratory hospital improvements; procurement of equipment and supplies and, confinement hours were reviewed,” perhaps suffice to working in a circular motion, breaking COVID-19 records, and bamboozled, on the true state of the rapidly changing public health catastrophe in Saint Lucia.
A further sample of commentators on social media, reads:
“No doubt quite a number of teachers and school children are among the troubling numbers! The reopening of schools with face-to-face contact, which the authorities foolishly allowed at the beginning of this school term, allowed the schools to become a perfect incubator and transmission point for the very contagious Omicron! How come the authorities didn’t see this one coming when so many ordinary Lucians were trying to tell them that it was madness to return to face-to-face classes while the COVID-19 numbers were on the rise! Either politics or sheer ignorance obscured their thinking,” said the handle, TRUTH BE TOLD.
The Omicron variant has not been officially declared in Saint Lucia. The government of Saint Lucia and health officials have tried with limited success to encourage inoculation and the proper application of COVID-19 protocols.
“ Our economy is suffering from COVID fatigue. The United Workers Party (UWP) government maximised the concessionary borrowing for COVID-related spending while callously leaving behind an unfinished St Jude hospital and under-resourced Owen King European (OKEU) hospital,” prime minister Philip Pierre reminded Saint Lucians on Monday, January 17.
A clear indication observed in the UK, towards leadership and planning outside the nuance to co-exist with COVID-19 and finding the balance with “lives and livelihood” and based on policy objectives, can be referenced in the UK, Saint Lucia’s leading tourism market.
“The UK government on Wednesday announced that England will fully return to Plan A on Thursday, January 27, thanks to the success of the booster programme, with ministers urging anyone who has still not had a top-up jab to come forward and Get Boosted Now. On December 8, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
“The measures introduced helped to control the spread of COVID-19, bought time to assess the variant and allowed The National Health Service (NHS) to rapidly expand the booster programme to strengthen defences. While vaccinations remain a priority, the success of the vaccination programme so far means we are now able to cautiously return to Plan A in England,” said the Department of Health and Social Care.
In Ontario, Canada, another source market for Saint Lucia’s tourism, the government is gradually loosening restrictions, pushing for a full reopening in March.
January 19, the province reported that 53 percent of the 3,220 hospitalizations are people who are in hospital primarily due to COVID-19, while the remaining 47 percent were admitted for other reasons but have now tested positive for the virus.
Eighty-two percent of patients are in ICU primarily due to COVID-19, while 18 percent of cases are there primarily for other reasons, but also have the virus; 224 of the people in ICU are fully vaccinated, 185 are unvaccinated and 18 are partially vaccinated. The remaining 162 have an unknown vaccination status.
The province confirmed on Wednesday that 4,132 people are in hospital with COVID-19, and 589 of those patients are in intensive care. The total number of people in hospital with the disease is a decrease over the 4,183 reported on Tuesday, while the number of people in intensive care units rose from 580 to 589.
Over in the US, Saint Lucia’s maximum tourism market, The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) forecast published Wednesday predicts that over 61,000 more people could die from COVID-19 over the next four weeks. According to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), coronavirus has killed 854,076 people in the United States. The forecast could mean an average of 2,575 COVID-19 deaths a day, up from a current average of 1,576 per day, according to JHU data.
Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), highlighted the critical need for countries to scale-up testing and, in particular, to leverage “smart” use of rapid antigen tests. “Although Omicron infections appear to be milder, we continue to urge caution because the virus is spreading more actively than ever before,” she said.
Saint Lucia needs to engage a balanced and proportionate approach to policy objectives, strong and unswerving leadership. Saint Lucians need to get vaccinated: 28 percent is not an appropriate defence against COVID-19. Saint Lucia’s defences against COVID-19 is not as strong as they should be.
The article, by Velon John ‘Vaccination should be mandated, reads:
“Without rights, homo sapiens would rapidly descend to the Hobbesian level of a State of Nature where life would be solitary, nasty, poor, brutish and short. He would be transformed into “homo animals”. In the context of the pandemic, the survival of man is at stake and the expression of any right that jeopardises his survival must not be tolerated. A “right” must be right in terms of its ultimate raison d’etre, sublime justification and functional collectivity. There are those who hold on to a myopic and warped view that – not to vaccinate is a right or the exercise of a right. “ It is my right”, they pontificate. That is not so; it is the prostitution of a right or more correctly the prostitution of the rights of man, since a right does not exist in isolation but is a sublime collectivity that is only functional in a paradigm of human survival.”
The pandemic will remain at the forefront, of public health, economic recovery and national security.
Omicron may be less severe, but for WHO chief “the narrative that it is mild disease is misleading, hurts the overall response and costs more lives.”
Commentator – Who feels it, knows it – writes on social media:
“I’m amazed at the spike because it’s not getting lower. I realize that there are no restrictions on tourists; because I see them roaming the streets without masks. The ministry of health needs to have a more proactive approach to strengthening the protocols. The state of emergency should never have been removed. Presently, this crisis is causing havoc in schools, businesses and society, at large. This country [Saint Lucia] needs help!”