Jamaica doing well, but not yet out of the woods

Editorial

Jamaica doing well, but not yet out of the woods

Friday, May 22, 2020

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Data provided by the health authorities on Wednesday that Jamaica has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 recoveries in a day since the first case of the virus was reported in March is very encouraging.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness told us in a news release that in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday, 26 additional Jamaicans recovered from COVID-19, putting the total number of recoveries at 171, up from 145 a day earlier.

Yesterday, the ministry gave an update, stating that another 10 Jamaicans had recovered from COVID-19, bringing recovery number to 181 and pushing the island's recovery rate to 34 per cent in the last 24 hours.

The data reinforces a point we have made in this space before that far more people recover from this novel coronavirus than those who die. We also reiterate that a deeper look at the spread of COVID-19 shows that the majority of the world's more than seven billion people have not been affected.

Globally, just over five million cases have been reported since the emergence of the virus last December in Wuhan, China. Up to early yesterday, Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reported that so far there have been 329,186 deaths worldwide.

We have seen the devastating blow that COVID-19 has delivered to Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. We mourn the losses they have had to endure and extend our deepest sympathies as those countries have, on various occasions, extended a helping hand to Jamaica in our times of great need.

Here in our country, we had, up to Wednesday, recorded 529 cases with nine deaths.

The health and wellness ministry also told us that in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday 492 samples had been tested 193 of them being new samples and 299 were discharge samples.

“The 193 new samples tested for COVID-19 bring the total number of samples tested on the island to 9,021,” the ministry reported. “Of that 9,021, in addition to the 529 positives, there are 8,420 negatives and 72 pending.”

The data support the point we have been making for some time now that the health authorities, and indeed the Government, have been doing a very good job of managing this crisis. While we accept that we are not yet out of the woods, we cannot ignore the effort and sacrifice made by the health care professionals, civil servants, and the political directorate.

Managing a crisis of this magnitude is certainly not easy as many individuals, fully focused and working in tandem are required for the type of effective response we are experiencing in Jamaica.

Naturally, everything has not gone smoothly. That is the nature of any massive operation with many moving parts. But no one can deny that what has been happening here is superior to the experience in other jurisdictions that are blessed with far more resources.

Our task now is to get our economy up and running again while being careful not to squander the gains already made in containing the spread of the virus. The Government, we see, has finally come to accept the point we have been making that we will need to live with COVID-19 for a long time. In fact, we hear that view now being espoused by some who criticised us when we first made the point.

The Government's move to strengthen the country's public health system under a new strategic framework designed to ensure that the population can live their normal lives despite the presence of COVID-19 is a step in the right direction.

The Administration appears to be pressing the gas pedal on this strategy. We encourage them to do so with the provision to not waste petrol.


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