Beware the amber light

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The news filtering in from around the globe is that our world is still in Covid-19 travail, and wishing our problems away will not suffice. Seems, the political leaders around the world are stepping all over themselves to feed the people a diet of happy-talk and boundless optimism in their inordinate haste to reopen their economies, but we wish to urge caution.
In the International section in today’s Daily Observer [Monday 10th May, 2020, there is a disturbing report coming out of Beijing that reads as follows, “Chinese authorities reported on Sunday what could be the beginning of a new wave of coronavirus cases in northeast China, with one city in Jilin province being reclassified as high-risk, the top of a three-tier zoning system. Jilin officials raised the risk level of the city of Shulan to high from medium, having hoisted it to medium from low just the day before after one woman tested positive on May 7.” Uh-oh! Hmmm! Then there is the equally disturbing report coming out of Seoul that says, “South Korea warned of a second wave of the new coronavirus on Sunday as infections rebounded to a one-month high, just as the authorities were starting to ease some pandemic restrictions. “It’s not over until it’s over,” President Moon Jae-in told the nation, saying a new cluster shows the virus can spread widely at any time, and warning of a second wave late this year.” Please say it ain’t so!
In Germany, a country that has won plaudits for its handling of the crisis, there appears to be an upsurge in Covid cases. Russia passed the 200,000 mark over the weekend, with just over 11,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, even as Japan, the United States, Australia, Israel, the European Union, Antigua and Barbuda and a number of Caribbean countries look to ease the restrictions in a matter of days. Here in our fair State, with more than enough rosy-tinted pronouncements, barber salons and beauty parlours are set to reopen today (albeit with stringent protective measures), and the beaches are now open on weekdays, again with stipulations. The State of Emergency could be lifted as early as this coming Thursday. Seems, the tough economic fallout, coupled with the rising frustration of the people is causing governments around the world to declare that the crisis is past its peak, and that it is now manageable. Our health officials declared it past its peak over a month ago. Seems, in the delicate balance between lives and livelihoods, governments are coming down on the side of livelihoods.
But wait! Not so fast! This coronavirus could be playing a deadly game of “hide and sick,” as our very own IT specialist and poet, Joe Antonio, so poignantly puts it. Mr. Boris Johnson, he numbered among those to have contracted the virus (he has since recovered after a stint in the Intensive Care Unit), has cautioned that even as restrictions are relaxed, Britons, indeed the world, must “stay alert.” Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, he whose wife tested positive for the virus, forcing him to self-isolate, is notably against “premature opening.” And according to Reuters, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had this to say about the rush to reopen the world’s gravely wounded economies, “[We must proceed] ‘extremely carefully’ or risk a rapid rise in new cases. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries needed to ensure they had adequate measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease like tracking systems and quarantine provision. ‘The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach,’ he said at a virtual briefing in Geneva. WHO epidemiologist, Maria Van Kerkhove, supported his concerns about the disease which has infected 3.71 million globally and killed more than 258,000 people. ‘If lockdown measures are lifted too quickly, the virus can take off,’” So there you have it, folks.
Manifestly, there are very real concerns, and we ought to take pause and “Pay the more earnest heed.” We ought to proceed through that crossroad with an eye on the amber light. It is not yet green. And this is the thing that is keeping many of us citizens awake at nights. You see, in much the same way that former President Obama recently said in a leaked conversation that President Trump’s response to the coronavirus is “chaotic,” we too here at NEWSCO are of the self-same opinion of this administration’s crisis management. Their wing-and- a-prayer moves do not inspire confidence. Of course, we could cite a plethora of missteps and mis-pronouncements and miscalculation by this hapless administration, but that would be superfluous. They can be read and seen in all manner of media, including this publication, and they are legion. But in the interest of time, we will mention one.
Consider the comical way in which those who spoke with a straight face and all piety, that local testing would begin next week, and then next week, and then next week ad infinitum. It was a farce! Talk about being unserious! It took the no-nonsense Dr. Lester Simon, in a media appearance several days ago, to explain the setbacks/ circumstances that occasioned the delay in testing, and that testing would begin by about the fifteenth of this month. Mind you, the fifteenth or thereabouts, is the very same time that the political directorate is thinking of ending the State of Emergency. Sigh! The entire economy will reopen without us first determining, as best we can, the full extent of Covid-19 in our fair State. And all because of the dearth in testing. We must not forget that in many of the other countries of the region, they have more than quadrupled the number of tests that we’ve conducted here. Their numbers put ours to shame. Get this: we have conducted tests on less than one percent of our population. To put it starkly, one percent of one hundred thousand is 1,000, and we have tested only 134. Sigh! HEAVEN HELP US!
All over the world, testing’s the thing. The proof of where we are, is in the testing. But . . . we’re going to rely on dumb luck. We will roll the dice and hope for the best. Much like Donald J. Trump. Folks, pray hard! Adhere to social distancing guidelines, practice good personal hygiene, observe cough and sneezing etiquette, wear your masks, and pray hard!
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