Last night august 11th, 2021, the Prime Minister (PM) delivered an address to the nation, providing updates on how his administration will be taking COVID-19 and introduce a set of protocols and restrictions that will take effect on Friday the 13th, 2021, till the end of August lasting just over three weeks.
Off the jump, I will say, like I said when it was the last administration. Fear is the driving for behind our repose to COVID. I believe the protocols and restrictions are an overreaction based on the agenda of those who provide the lead for our leaders. But we will have to stick a pin in that for another time. Today we will focus on the comments made by the PM and the “new” protocols and restrictions introduced last night.
While the PM appeals to my sense of personal responsibility, I am looking at the government’s COVID-19 dashboard, trying to make sense of Mr. Pierre’s opening remarks. Both the current and past administrations hide behind the phrase “Follow the science.”
Suppose we assume the population of Saint Lucia to be approximately 185,000. With 5,982 confirmed cases as per the government’s figures. Then over the past year and a half, 3.23% of the population have contracted a variant of the virus. Of those confirmed cases, 94 deaths were recorded, and 5,487 recovered, contributing to a 1.57% case fatality rate and a 91.7% recovery rate.
It is important to note that the data provided by the government COVID-19 dashboard website is very general and does not provide essential breakdowns that would tell a more accurate story of our experience with the virus. It would be insightful to see how the deaths compare by age and number of comorbidities. The only comparison they provide is one of the most irrelevant — the genders of those who have contracted the virus, nearly fifty-fifty.
I will attempt to obtain a more detailed data set from the Ministry of Health and report back in a future blog. I want to explore other points of interest regarding the government’s COVID-19 dashboard, but this is not the time. Because while the PM said last night that one of the justifications for imposing these none medical interventions was to ensure our already insufficient healthcare capacity is not overwhelmed. It would be helpful to the public to know what that capacity is? I recall the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) saying it was about 2000 active cases some time ago. Have we made no progress in expanding our capacity? I will seek answers to these questions and more as soon as possible. It will be interesting to see how welcoming I am by government officials when I submit inquires to the Ministry of Information in Ernest.
I welcome the PM’s remarks about decriminalizing those arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the COVID ACT. I look forward to seeing them take it to Parliament, convert those words into actions, and make it official. Though to my knowledge, nobody who was arrested and charged has face prosecution yet, but I could be mistaken. I will add that to the list of inquiries and seek clarification from either the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) or the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
I do not welcome the change to the command center as warmly, which removes an accountable elected Member of Parliament as the Chair and replaces them with an unelected, unaccountable supposed health expert. The main problem with placing a technocrat at the head of the command center is that the decisions they must make are interdisciplinary by nature. Several factors need to be considered and ultimately resolved against forces external to the command center. Inevitably, the buck must stop with a politician. They cannot hide behind the excuse of recommendations from the command center, which will be led by someone with a narrow specialty and, most importantly, not accountable to the people who voted the PM into office.
Ass for the restriction themselves. It is pointless for me to go point of point as I do not believe they are justifiable in any shape, form, or fashion. We should allow free individuals to take personal responsibility for risk tolerance, which is my opinion on vaccinations.
What I find incredible though expected, is that many of those who vehemently opposed the previous administration’s protocols and restrictions seem to have no issue with the current administration. For now, all we can do is wait, watch, and see how it unfolds.
Be strong, stay safe, and God bless Saint Lucia.