Celebrating low COVID numbers can be 'misleading', says St James councillorSaturday, June 12, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Celebrating the recent low numbers of COVID-19 infections on the island can “be a little misleading”, says councillor for the Spring Garden Division in St James, Dwight Crawford.
Speaking at the general monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation on Thursday, the councillor pointed out that while there has been a decrease in the reported numbers of COVID infections across the island, he strongly believes that the “real litmus test is the actual reopening of the industries” while still “managing to keep the COVID levels low”.
“Now we are celebrating a victory and I'm not going to refer to it as a false victory, but it can be a little misleading and let me tell you how. So the COVID numbers have declined but the real litmus test is the actual reopening of the industries, the entertainment industries and managing to keep the COVID levels low,” said Crawford.
The rationale behind this stance, he informed the council, is that like with any business, celebrating a victory with “no losses” will not allow for the true status of the business to show. What he suggests is to “reopen the industry, have them operate within the guidelines and the protocols and maintain the low numbers in COVID [infections]”
“If you have a business and it is losing revenue, haemorrhaging in some way, if you close down the business, you will see no losses. If you close the business, there are no losses, but you cannot celebrate [a] victory that there are no losses, [as] the business is now closed so you cannot generate any revenue,” said the councillor.
“So, the real litmus test is to reopen the business, address the issue that are causing the haemorrhaging, and make the business successful. The real litmus test after one year of COVID is to reopen the industry, have them operate within the guidelines and the protocols and maintain the low numbers in COVID [infections],” he reiterated.
In her response to the councillor's statements, Acting Medical Officer of Health for St James, Dr Tanique Bailey-Small, said that residents' behavioural patterns, whether they maintain the COVID-19 protocols or not, will be the true test, as the Government reopens the various industries.
“A lot of it is going to be dependent on if persons maintain the protocols. So, the test really, as we reopen the various industries is dependent on what the behavioural pattern is. So, if it is that our residents maintain our protocols then we will continue to see a decrease but certainly, if it becomes a lapse in behaviour, then that will significantly affect our positivity rate,” said Dr Bailey-Small.
Bailey-Small went on to urge that Jamaicans still maintain their levels of vigilance during their day-to-day lives, regardless of the low numbers being reported by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“We still [must] be vigilant. We really do hope that persons will understand the importance of still maintaining the protocols and not necessarily take it easy because we are seeing a fall in the numbers,” said the acting medical officer.
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