Health official warns that inaction could make situation worse

As more and more people get infected and die with Covid-19, Dr Courtney Lewis warns that the time to act is now, before a terrible situation worsens.
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By Orville Williams

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Amid a dramatic rise in the number of new infections and a spike in the number of deaths of persons diagnosed with Covid, one of the country’s top health officials is warning that this situation could simply get way worse.

At the time of writing, the number of active Covid cases – as reported by the Health Ministry – is more than 700, due to a rapid increase over the past couple of weeks which included 100-plus infections reported in separate single days.

The number of hospitalised persons is around five percent of that active total, with the rest said to be in isolation.

The number of deaths in people found positive is also on the rise, with a whopping four recorded in approximately six hours on Monday. That total has now passed 50.

Speaking on state media Monday evening, Deputy Chairman of the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) on Covid-19 vaccinations, Dr Courtney Lewis, lamented the fact that the initial warning signs were not heeded, particularly where the threat of the Covid variants is concerned.

“There was [a warning] pretty early on that the more we took this pandemic for granted, the more variants would be created and the more variations to the illness we would see, the more Covid would learn to adapt to us and how to beat our defensive mechanisms.

“I think Delta was the first kind of wake-up call to a lot of the society, that that’s exactly what this disease is doing. It’s learning how to fight us, it’s learning how to beat us, and if we’re not careful, we’re going to arrive very shortly at a state where we don’t really have many effective weapons against it,” he warned.

Prior to the recent spike in infections – when the risk appeared to be under control – several social measures were relaxed, including the nightly curfew, the number of persons allowed to gather and the types of businesses approved to operate.

Dr Lewis noted that the impact of what is currently the most dangerous variant of the virus showed those moves were not sustainable.

“The Delta variant has changed the game…before, you would assume that you’re safe [taking] certain measures against the wild type or against Alpha.

“If you’re vaccinated, if you’re masked-up and sanitized, you could have some gatherings [and] you could host events. Delta, very soon, did away with all of that, [it] just doesn’t seem to respect much.”

All of the public health measures put in place to fight the Covid spread are still in effect, in the form of mandatory mask-wearing, along with handwashing and social distancing.

Though the adherence to and enforcement of these measures have been questioned in recent times, much of the focus is being geared toward vaccinations – seen as the ultimate weapon against the virus – but even that remains a struggle.

The government has procured a wider variety of vaccines and gradually imposed more vaccination restrictions, but the number of people fully vaccinated remains under 40,000, more than six months after the public inoculation programme began.

Dr Lewis again urged the public to take advantage of the vaccines while they remain very effective against the virus, saying, “the time to act against this illness is now, and if we miss the boat, I think we’re going to end up in a state that we really don’t want to see.”

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