Covid Paralysis vs Covid Management

Submitted by Richard Petko

The past two weeks has seen a national pause and a furtherance of the pause. What are the actual goals of the pause? What are the goalposts for re-opening? What are the goals for tourism? These are all valid questions and I think they should be asked and answered. Before answering it is pertinent to see what other Caribbean jurisdictions which are considered as world class as Barbados are doing.

Barbados Population 285,000

  • Cases daily 30-60
  • Masks – everywhere
  • Curfew – 7pm to 6am
  • Schools – closed
  • Economy – mostly shut down, supermarkets open M-F 8-4
  • Activity – Beaches and parks 6-9am
  • Tourism – PCR test to enter, antigen test at airport, 5 day hotel room quarantine, test followup
  • Airlift International – 3-5 flights per day
  • Positive Covid on Island – Residents & Tourists sent to government isolation facility for indefinite period of time no matter what their symptoms

Costa Rica Population 5 million

  • Cases daily 300-450
  • Masks – indoors
  • Curfew – None
  • Schools – Open
  • Economy – Open – everything open
  • Activity – everything open
  • Tourism – NO PCR test required of anyone
  • Airlift International – 20-23 daily flights
  • Positive test In Country – isolate at home, only sick people go to hospital

Aruba Population 105,000

  • Cases daily 20-50
  • Masks – indoors
  • Curfew – 11pm
  • Schools – Open
  • Economy – Open – everything open
  • Activity – Everything open
  • Tourism – PCR test required 72 hours old
  • Airlift International – 24-30 daily flights
  • Positive Test in Island – Tourist and Locals isolate at home, only sick people go to hospital

I think it is quite evident to see that in Costa Rica and Aruba we have governments that are managing Covid and the economy. They are not banning tourism and have come to the realization that Covid is an endemic respiratory virus that you should not be destroying your economy over. The per capita case numbers are the same in all 3 countries. It is the response that is clearly different.

It is probably shocking for many to see that you can fly to Costa Rica without a PCR test, that everything is open and somehow the country has not had a medical or economic collapse.

It is my opinion that this government is acting in an irrational panic rather than managing the issue. The country always praises its robust health care system, which has been bolstered by the arrival of 120 Cuban doctors and nurses. Harrison’s Point offers a large enough facility to house all the truly sick people from infection. I feel one of the biggest mistakes is taking every single sars-cov2 positive person into isolation. The data from studies in China and by the WHO now clearly show asymptomatic transmission of Covid is miniscule (roughly 3%). Needlessly putting an asymptomatic 37-year-old into isolation simply strains the resources of the facility. Not to mention the fact people are being taken away definitely makes them hesitant to go for tests or to share health information with others.

Barbados is better than this peripatetic response seen these past 2 weeks. Sars-Cov2 is here and is going nowhere. Locking up people in their houses until February 28th is not going to change anything.

It is time to do the following.

  • Open up the entire economy immediately
  • Open up all the schools to in-person teaching – this sacrifice of our children’s education over a respiratory virus will be the shame that will be focused upon in the history books
  • Open up tourism – Go with a 72 hour old PCR test on arrival. This is truly not needed as Covid is here and endemic, but for a couple of months it will appease a portion of the population. However, the point is there is no need to worry if 1 of 100 tourists arrives here with Covid when 5-10% of Bajans are testing positive for it.
  • Isolate only sick covid patients and focus health on them
  • Continue with a rapid rollout of the vaccination program, ensure enough vaccines arrive by the end of March for everyone who wants one to receive one.
  • Start a public campaign to truly educate people about the disease and the management plan
  • Encourage mask use indoors only – outdoor mask use is nonsense and everyone knows it, by dictating such a policy it discourages people to listen to the valid pronouncements of public health authorities
  • Stop this nonsense of stores and businesses testing their entire staff if someone tests positive for sars-cov2. If a supermarket in Florida has a positive test, they don’t shut down the market and test the 200 employees. It makes absolutely no scientific sense and actually has been discouraged by the covid task force. It should be mandated that it should not be done. This would be simple by not allowing the Beth Dos Santos Lab to process any tests from such establishments.

The above are simple and will lead Barbados out of this COVID situation much faster and more robust than any national pause.

218 comments

  • We have almost overcome the plague, so that we can again invite tourists at full steam from Easter onwards: Our Most Honourable Prime Minister and her team have already vaccinated more than 22000 human beings of our wonderful island. We have only about 700 active cases left.

    Thank you very much for the vaccine, Dear Prime Minister!

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  • The makings of you by the OG GP
    Gladys knight and the Pips

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  • Very long lines reported at the Globe Drive in location, a drive thru vaccination site. So far Barbadians are responding to the call to be vaccinated.

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  • @ David February 27, 2021 4:29 PM

    Is this method of vaccine delivery by appointment only or is it a situation one might find at any large KFC or Chefette fast food outlet on a bank holiday weekend?

    What is Dr. Ferdinand saying about this vaccination apartheid ‘arrangement’?

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  • @Miller

    The arrangement was to facilitate appointment only but Barbadians have been turning up (walkins) in large numbers and they are not being turned away.

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  • Much as I think that Richard Petko is playing fast and loose with the comparison to other countries (you were using Jamaica previously, but that has fallen apart) and there is too much uncertainty and underlying differences such as demographics to compare without a more detailed assessment, he is right in one thing.

    That the country cannot afford to extend the lockdown, as so many are hurting, they need to earn money. Many of the people yelling for extended lockdowns, know where their rent and food is coming from. But the average person is sucking salt and were doing so even before Covid, it is worse now.

    Many people are being supported by their family, both breadwinners out of work. This cannot continue.

    Unfortunately, the health service will have to get used to the idea that the country will not remain under lockdown. As bad as that is, the alternative will be worse if this continues. With the unemployment level so high, extending a lockdown will cause it to get worse.

    It is a choice between a rock and a hard place, but a homeless and hungry man is a desperate man, especially if he has a family to support.

    There is no good reason to expand on this here. Some will appreciate what I am saying.

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  • THE VIEW FROM EUROPE: Vaccine passports may hold the key to tourism’s safe return | Barbados Advocate

    https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/columns/view-europe-vaccine-passports-may-hold-key-tourism%E2%80%99s-safe-return

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  • Crusoe,

    I think the purpose of the lockdown was to buy time whilst vaccinating the vulnerable.

    We do not read Petko to tell us that we need to reopen.

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  • Many have forgotten Barbados was an economy in a fragile state even before Covid-19 arrived. The argument that Barbados can afford to lose 150 million as posited by the PM must be taken in context i.e. the risk reward of lockdown versus compromising the health of Barbadians-public health.

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  • High powered group ready to assist with vaccine financing – High powered group ready to assist with vaccine financing: https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/03/03/high-powered-group-ready-to-assist-with-vaccine-financing/

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  • (quote) The other directors are businessmen Mark Maloney (deputy chair); Sir Paul Altman and Queen’s Counsel Barry Gale. Director of Finance and Economic Affairs (DFE) Mr Ian Carrington was nominated by PM Mottley to sit on the board.(unquote)

    So we have three known “power players” in the continuing theft of real estate, (Mallalieu of Terra is Chair) and their preferred lawyer, plus the person who was in charge during the demise of the NIS. No wonder the following statement was needed

    (quote) However, the chairman assured the country and prospective donors that none of the money raised would go into the pockets of its directors or would be used for any other reason other than for the objectives outlined.(unquote)

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  • An interesting group to say the least
    Pay back will be in due time
    Mo doubt out of the taxpayers pocket

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  • @ Angela

    What a political perverse group. What I cannot understand is why normally sensible people call the president highly intelligent; she is like a sponge, soaks up ideas from others with none original coming from her.
    A client briefs a lawyer and s/he goes in to court and argues as if they were eye witnesses.

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  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/02/18/10-million-wide-scale-farm-project-at-haymans/
    Is this a next foreign guy with 400 acres
    How big is the island – only 266 guys can have 400 acres. The other 285,734 of us will be living in boats on the sea.
    166 square miles total and so far we have 2 guys with 1,3. square miles between them.

    St Joseph is the smallest parish with 6.010 acres (9.39 sq mile) a

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  • 640 acres is 1 sq mile

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  • Can you all get it in your thick skulls that you are a small island? I remember sometime ago someone mentioning sales like this or larger occur in the US.
    3.797 million mi² vs 166 mi²

    Do you realize that you are selling your children birthright?

    Do you realized that you are ensuring there is generational poverty; that you are removing large tracts of land from supply; creating a landless society; pushing the price of land out of the reach of the average Barbadian; forcing a worker for minimum wages to compete with billionaires?

    The big joke is that these guys will play at being farmers, make themselves look good by losing a little money and in 19 years sell the land at 10 times profit.

    We may not use the word slavery, but we are creating an eternal supply of cheap labor

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  • This may seem unrelated..
    Everyone want to sell their ‘400’ acres; probably to some rich foreigner.
    The villagers should be allowed to buy the land at a reasonable price since they have been squatting for ages..

    https://www.nationnews.com/2021/03/03/video-thicketts-plantation-sale/

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