US House majority leader Hoyer’s statement on president Trump address to the nation on COVID-19 pandemic has similarities in St Lucia

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US House majority leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released a statement following president Donald Trump address to the nation on the coronavirus pandemic stating that the president finally did what he should have done weeks ago: take this crisis seriously and address the nation about his administration’s strategy to deal with coronavirus.

House majority leader Hoyer contends that, while he still failed to confront the hard truths of this challenge or answer important questions – including why officials still do not have enough testing kits and how he is going to address that shortage – president Trump at last shared steps he intends to take in the days and weeks ahead.

The House majority leader stated: “It is clear, however, that the steps he announced [tonight] are insufficient. More will need to be done to stop the spread of the virus and mitigate its effects on public health and our economy. Last week, Congress passed legislation to provide $8.3 billion in emergency aid to support the research and development of a vaccine and of therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, to help communities confront an outbreak, and to finance SBA loans to assist small businesses losing revenue as a result of this public health emergency.

“The House is preparing additional legislation to assist families directly affected by coronavirus, which I expect to consider on the House Floor tomorrow. There is broad agreement that additional action is necessary to slow the spread of the virus, and I hope the president and Congressional Republicans will join us in supporting this package,” he said.

While we cannot compare the US president with the islands, even with the simulation of Tropical Trump 2.0, prime minister Chastanet – the contrast is symptomatic to communicate what opposition leader Philip J Pierre said (that most are now coming to realize) in that: “Saint Lucia is the worst prepared island for the coronavirus in the region.”

Aside from questions on the state of preparedness of the country to address COVID-19 critical policy issues and the lack of leadership is inadequate to improve weak health systems and to ensure maximum capacity; all of this came to a head-on Tuesday, March 10, when Tropical Trump 2.0 said: “I assure you that we are working aggressively to find a solution for a worst-case scenario.”

Moreover, he stated, he was awaiting specific details to be able to address the nation regarding what his administration will be doing – about an outbreak that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International concern on January 30, 2020.

However, Tropical Trump 2.0, prime minister Chastanet of Saint Lucia response is: “We have put in the resources to get 15 beds available at Victoria Hospital – in the vicinity of Victoria Hospital and we’re looking for a much more comprehensive plan which I will be able to announce very soon.”

Perhaps this calls for a mini-bar on the way to parliament for a Ti-Punch if only to state that: “The critical thing here is, in the absence of a vaccine, really; the best vaccine becomes our behaviour.”

According to Tropical Trump 2.0: “If Saint Lucians can change their hygiene behaviour including how they greet each other, they will create an environment that makes it difficult for the coronavirus to be transmitted. That is the best possible solution.”

Let’s consider other quotes: “ We have also recognized that there is currently insufficient space available to support a major outbreak in Saint Lucia.”

“As we prepare for our 2020-2021 budget, we are also monitoring what is happening on the world stage. Hence we are in dialogue with the Central Bank, the World Bank, the CDB and the IMF, on what measures and mechanisms we can put in place in order to maintain the confidence of the business community. A conference call with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is scheduled with the region for Monday next week. Hence, we are going to have to delay the budget presentation until we have a full picture of the economic implications in order that our numbers can be adjusted to the new normal.”

On the flip side, Tropical Trump 2.0 says: “The good news is that the government’s major capital investment programs – the airport, St Jude, the police headquarters, the road rehabilitation, our CDP projects and improvements in our healthcare sector – will continue and will help to cushion some of the negative impacts.”

The similarity of the nuisance, double-talk, and ma-ti-festo is a no-brainer.

President Trump has now realised that the summer heat will not slow down COVID-19, and seven members of Congress are now taking steps to either self-quarantine or otherwise isolate themselves as a precaution after coming into contact with an infected individual, has struggled to execute a cohesive plan to stop the spread of the virus in the US.

Equally, while each passing day shows COVID-19 ‘very real’ to health and economic impact in the Caribbean – Tropical Trump 2.0 declares: “By treating the coronavirus as an impending hurricane, we are operating with the understanding that we have a potentially catastrophic event coming. But we have all learnt how unpredictable hurricanes have become…” however endevours to practicing good hygiene and effectively change our behaviours, then this is in fact the vaccine: to slow down or eliminate the ability of the virus to spread. I repeat: We don’t need panic, we need preparation.”

Saint Lucia’s health and wellness minister Mary Isaac says the coronavirus threat, “It is a flu and we can protect each other, so we need not be afraid, we need not panic – actually we just have to be more vigilant. We survived Ebola, we survived SARS, we survived H1N1 and we still have H1N1 people among us – we still have people who are getting SARS, Chikungunya and so on,” the minister said.

Even if some compare COVID- 19 as a seasonal flu, [owing to a lack of knowledge], that has now arrived on the shores of Saint Lucia, it is a global pandemic and the number of cases will rise sharply, as  the worst public health crisis for a generation; dating back to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide.

On Friday, the region was saturated with disclosures from various islands announcing their first and additional cases.

Also, on Friday, World Health Organisation (WHO) advise for governments, businesses, and individuals:

  • Prepare and be ready. Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and others. Ensure that health facilities can cope, and that health workers know how to provide care.
  • Detect, protect and treat. Find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chain of transmissions.
  • Reduce transmission. Isolate the sick and quarantine their contacts. Increase social distancing by, for example, cancelling sporting events and other large gatherings.
  • Innovate and learn. This is a new virus and a new situation, and all countries have lessons to share.

The next challenge is a new fiscal mantra to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has plunging oil prices and uncertainty, prompting economists to rewrite their economic forecast and business futures.

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