Our world continues to be relentlessly plagued by Covid-19; on some days, it appears to be a pandemic without end. And yet, on other days, even as the virus spreads, and despite the global, political pathologies caused by vaccine nationalism, at times it appears our world is united through a common language, anxieties, and suffering, as we struggle against the inexorable scourge that is Covid-19.
Take the release from Guyana’s health ministry earlier this week, for example. In it, the ministry noted, “As in other countries in the region and around the world, Covid-19 is in a new global surge. We recognise the surge in Guyana. But after a year of circulating, the virus among us has become more effective in spreading during this new surge. It has also become more virulent and deadlier. The hospital beds are increasingly becoming occupied with Covid-19 patients, who become sicker more rapidly. In addition, the virus is infecting younger people, and more young people are getting sicker faster.”
Georgetown’s solicitude is also Ontario’s reality; it is also a similar, unifying messaging and anxiety for New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Québec, our Prairie provinces, and British Columbia. As it is the same for Bridgetown, Barbados; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Kingston, Jamaica, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Earlier this week, CNN reported the highly contagious Covid-19 UK variant is now present in every US state, with medical experts concerned the virulence from these variants could send cases surging.
Here at home, earlier this week, like in Georgetown, Port-of-Spain, and in Bridgetown, Québec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé expressed growing concern about pressures impacting sectors of the province’s health-care system, noting with worry that hospital capacity in intensive care was “fragile”. Québec has since expanded its lockdown to several additional municipalities.
Closer to home, earlier this week Ontario reported 2,938 new cases of Covid-19 infections, with ten additional deaths. This week Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford, along with health officials, imposed tougher restrictions in another lockdown.
The narrative of growing concern and anxiety by governments is global, and unifying, in the face of this common, pandemic health threat. More and more, health systems across the globe are seeing increased pressure being placed on its resources, particularly with growing hospital admissions, followed by worrisome, increased occupation of limited intensive care capacities.
As it is for the US, the European Union, and here in Canada, so it is for the Caribbean. Earlier this week, concerned health officials in Georgetown reported four more deaths, taking Guyana’s total pandemic fatalities to 247; a total of 26 new infections were also recorded, which took the cumulative number of confirmed cases up to 10,606.
Similarly, late last week Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the nation had arrived at a “dangerous crossroads”. Consequently, and similar to Québec and Ontario, close contact and mobility restrictions were renewed with another ban on recreational sports. And in a worrisome development, earlier this week Rowley tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
It is a similar narrative of anxiety for Barbados’ health system, which reported six new infections earlier this week; there were 109 people in isolation. So far, Barbados has recorded 3,685 confirmed cases, with 43 deaths.
However, among the positive developments have been the unfolding vaccinations campaigns, here in Canada, and on the global front. In the Caribbean, Barbados’ proactive initiatives have seen 63,738 shots administered in the first phase of its National Vaccination Programme. This week, vaccination programmes are also being rolled out in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica.
Here at home, our vaccination programme is well underway, with reports indicating our community is responding positively, with eligibility being explored, and many of us taking the vaccine. Keep up the good work.