Janelle de Souza
Experts say people at TT are at a higher risk of contracting covid19, with experts saying there are 2,000 cases to cross amid a boom.
On 15 August, Chief Medical Officer Drs. Roshan Parasram announced that he recommended to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that the World Health Organization (WHO) list TT as “community dissemination”, moving from the stage of “cluster”.
The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention spreads as a community meaning that people infected with the virus in an area include some people who do not know how or where they got infected.
In the past weeks, the virus has spread at an accelerated rate, with daily Health Ministry updates showing an increase from 11 September on 19 August to 123 on 2 September to 123 September.
It should be noted that Parasaram explained that daily numbers do not indicate new cases within the last 24 hours.
At a press conference, he stated that samples of positive cases tested by the UWI Lab were being sent to CARPHA for confirmation, resulting in positive results being sent to the laboratories. Therefore, the reporting of cases was also “batched”, leading to an interval of five to seven days rather than immediate case-by-case reporting.
Prior to August 11, the general trend in the number of daily new cases was between zero and a dozen. The number was mostly due to anticipatory citizens, but also some local cases.
This was so except on 8 August, which increased to 50 cases; According to a Health Ministry release that day, the results were from samples taken during the period of July 30-August.
A few months ago, TT was praised by international bodies for its handling of covid19 and its low numbers. WHO and worldometer websites showed in May that TT had a total of 116 cases, eight deaths and 2,647 trials.
As of 3 September, the figures were 1,984; 29 and 24,449 respectively. A day later, they increased to 2,040; 31 and 24,692, with additional cases expected over the weekend.
Now the virus is affecting our leaders. On 21 August, in a Facebook post, the Prime Minister said that he had come to know that on August 10, the day of the general election, he was in contact with someone who later tested positive for covid19. He was tested and the results were negative, but he was advised to self-quarantine, and remained there until August 24 after 14 days of exposure.
On 20 August, in another Facebook post, former United Nations Congress (UNC) Minister of Education and former MP of Caroni East, Dr. Tim Gopisingh confirmed that he had tested positive for covid19 and was in state medical care. He now lives in the house.
Former Chagwanas West MP Jack Warner was hospitalized with the virus last week, and is said to be fine.
Follow the rules to curb the spread
UWI, Professor of Veterinary Science in Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr. Christopher Oura said that he was very concerned about the continued growth of Kovid 19 cases in TT over the past few weeks.
Community dissemination, he said, “means that the virus is spreading, out of control, at the moment, which is worrisome. The implications of community spread are, if not controlled, slowed down, more Will spread faster than. “
He stated that it was important to control the spread, stop the transmission, and level the curve, because contracting covid19 can have very serious consequences for the elderly and a small proportion of people with underlying conditions. Some will be put into intensive care, some will be put on ventilators, and some will die.
He said that many people at TT were at high risk because they had underlying conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Therefore, if others did not start taking covid19 seriously, following the recommended measures, and following the lockdown measures, they could have infected these people and they could be involved in health systems, including testing and contact-tracing systems. Could be overwhelming.
“It is very important for people to understand that they have to play a role in reducing the spread of the virus. And to do this they need to meet the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to try to prevent them from spreading directly from one person to another… otherwise we will start seeing people dying in our hospitals. ”
He recommended the ministry’s recommendation to wear face masks above the social distance as well as above the nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of Kovid 19 over short distances through coughing, sneezing and even talking and laughing. Repeated. It can also be spread indirectly on surfaces and hands, so cleaning of both was also necessary.
After the law was passed in Parliament last weekend, it has become mandatory to wear masks.
Furthermore, Oya urged people to stay indoors when they were ill, as this was the period during which they were most contagious. He encouraged people to differentiate themselves after being tested for covid19, no matter how long it took to get results.
Beyond our borders
At TT’s community level, he compared the country to the Bahamas – population 393,831; And Jamaica, which has a population of 2,963,218. As of Thursday, Jamaica had a total of 2,896 cases, 1,946 active cases and 29 deaths. There were 2,386 cases, 1,443 active cases and 50 deaths in the Bahamas.
Oura said that each country had different challenges but one of the problems with TT, Jamaica and Barbados was their extent.
“The problem with TT is, of course, our borders are not safer from South America than Venezuela.”
He said that in the Bahamas, the borders were not protected from “outsiders”, and Jamaica had opened its borders. Often, he hinted, returning citizens and others bring the virus to a country and there was no system available to avoid those returning without the virus, so they had to be left for only 14 days.
PAHO / WHO representative Dr. Erica Wheeler considered the transition from cluster to community dissemination was a concern.
“But the concern should give rise to the recognition that we need an ‘all in society’ approach to combat this virus. Community dissemination means that everyone is at increased risk of exposure, and ensuring every individual They should take necessary precautions to reduce their risk of infection, in the event of inadvertent exposure. ”
In addition to masks, social disturbances, and frequent cleansing of hands and surfaces, he said that people with flu-like symptoms who visit health facilities should have a separate protocol to see a health professional, and they should be able to treat other people. Should not mix with the facility.
In addition, those who were instructed to remain in quarantine at home are required to do so and follow the guidelines.
He said that people needed to recognize their role in slowing transmission and following simple but effective public health guidelines which was important.
“They are effective and can save your life or the lives of others you love. Worst to worst And the best. Survived the disease. Not just as a result, but any long term illness
The WHO was researching long-term effects on people who had recovered to some extent from Kovid 19, but has other health problems, he said.
Wheeler said the government’s role was to ensure that adequate testing and materials were available, that the testing was done in a timely manner, and that the results returned as quickly as possible.
Young people not spared
Testing was a very important part of controlling diffusion, she said, since it was from testing that contact tracing, quarantine, and treatment protocols could be followed. It was also important that primary and secondary contacts be detected at the earliest.
“Protocols of quarantine should then be followed, and if symptoms occur, testing and, if necessary, treatment.
“Again, surveillance is important. A break in the sequence of detection, testing, quarantine and treatment or isolation (where necessary) allows the virus to continue its chances of spreading.
“Until community dissemination is brought under control, it would be impossible to open schools without rapid dissemination among those populations. The fact that young people are now getting infected in this second wave is an indication of the extent of community spread compared to the first wave.
“Young people are not spared. It is also a reflection of where the place is happening and where the youth are gathering is wandering.”
He said it was observed that public health and social measures were “relaxed” in the TT, but a similar situation was observed in other Caribbean countries and around the world.
However, she said the reported numbers not only reflected the total number of cases, but also tested strategies, such as population health-seeking behaviors and population sizes. It was therefore important to consider not only the reported cases, but also the trends.
“Community mobilization is necessary because human behavior drives the epidemic. WHO has put together a technical advisory group on behavioral insights and science for health. This is in recognition of the fact that it should supplement existing comprehensive technical guidance that it provides to countries. ”
Members of this group include psychology, anthropology, health promotion, neuroscience, behavioral science, social marketing, and more. He stated that the intention was to increase and improve the use of behavioral and social sciences in a range of health sectors, including covid19.
“We need to be able to engage communities, otherwise there will be a constant battle with people’s response and a sense of not only personal, but personal responsibility.”
He said that people need to constantly make adjustments in their behavior and daily life to keep themselves safe, as lockdown was not a permanent solution.
“We cannot choose between life and livelihood, because health and economy are inseparable. Each country and community must assess their risks and respond by doing what they can to help themselves and others. “