People are dying in Antigua and Barbuda at an exponentially higher rate than in 2020 after contracting Covid-19.
According to the information released on the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre’s Facebook page, at least 26 people have died in the hospital after contracting the coronavirus this month alone.
News of 15 of those deaths was revealed on Monday. The youngest was a 27-year-old male. The hospital reported that these people died between September 19 and September 27 2021.
The dashboard released by the Ministry of Health had not yet been updated to reflect the latest fatalities up to news time.
According to the last dashboard published on September 25, 64 deaths have been officially recorded since the start of the pandemic.
Even without the updated figures, it is clear that the death toll equates to at least one person each day this month. The ages range from as young as 25 to as old as 97.
Such figures have not been seen in the country since the first case was identified in Antigua in March 2020. At the end of 2020, there were only five recorded deaths and 148 confirmed cases of the virus.
Nine months later, total confirmed cases have spiked to 2,923. Of those, 1,574 were recorded just this month.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne warned those who remain unvaccinated against the virus that now is the time to act.
“How many more people have to die before they act,” he questioned
“We have said at nauseum that Covid is debilitating and deadly. When 90 percent of the hospitalisations and deaths are among unvaccinated individuals, and unfortunately we still have a large cadre of people who are not listening, they need to listen.
“They need to get vaccinated soonest in order to reduce the prevalence of Covid and to eliminate these premature Covid-related deaths,” Browne explained.
In May 2021, cases had plummeted and were the lowest they had been since late January that same year.
The dashboard on May 4 2021 showed that there were only eight new cases with 154 recoveries.
It was a promising sign that management of the virus had improved.
By the beginning of June there were only six active cases. This downward trend continued for a few more weeks and in July cases started to increase slowly. By the third week in July, active cases had passed 100.
Deaths however still remained at bay until mid-August when cases began to climb and another death was recorded after several weeks. Hospitalisations also began to peak.
Authorities at the hospital have had to suspend elective surgeries and have asked people not to come to the emergency room if their illness is non-life threatening.
The hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is filled to capacity as more people continue to be hospitalised.
The hospital’s Medical Director, Dr Albert Duncan, has described the situation as “chaos with care”.