'We're not trying hard enough', Tufton says as COVID cases soarSunday, March 07, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton today made an impassioned plea for Jamaicans to observe the COVID-19 protocols established by the Government, as he defended the “let that sink in” lingo used this morning when he revealed today's record daily COVID-19 cases.
In a tweet this morning, the health minister said: “723 positive COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours…let that sink in.” Soon after, he started receiving backlash for the latter part of his tweet.
“I am sorry if some persons are offended by this straight and plain talk but I believe that it is very important that all of us appreciate and understand the consequences of our action,” Tufton said in a video shared to social media today.
Noting that yesterday, the country had a 35.9 per cent positivity rate, the minister said: “Let that sink in. Let it sink in that that positivity rate means that our hospitals are going to come under pressure, significant pressure.
"Let it sink in that our public health workers, our nurses, our doctors are going to find it very difficult to cope with those who come in and need medical care.
"Let it sink in that it means longer waits, it means persons having to suffer for longer periods before they can get a bed and generally speaking a health system that is going to experience significant stress and fatigue.
“Jamaicans, the truth is, we're not trying hard enough. I accept that the government has a responsibility, but let us be clear that a lot of the spread that is taking place in this country is because too many of us are ignoring the need for personal responsibility.”
Tufton said that while driving through Half Way Tree, St Andrew earlier today, he observed that only 10 per cent of people were wearing masks.
“That's not good enough,” he said. “It must sink in to all of us that the government alone, the public health system along, our nurses or doctors alone, the Cabinet of Jamaica alone cannot address this virus and it's spread and the consequences that it will have on our people.
“It must sink in that 723 persons in one day and more importantly over three out of every 10 persons tested are positive means that corona is right across the length of our population.
"It must sink in that if you continue to have the parties, the drink ups, if you continue to ignore the protocols around gatherings and you congregate and you don't wear the mask then the chances of you getting the coronavirus are real and the probability is increasing and when you get to the hospital, the chances of you getting a bed is going to become less and less.”
“Jamaican people will die. It's as simple as that,” the health minister warned.
“This is not an attempt to rid government of its responsibilities… The truth is we do not have enough policemen or soldiers to police every shop in Jamaica, to police every beach in Jamaica, to look over every single individual in this country and it is downright unfair for persons to blame our public health officials, our public health teams, our doctors and our nurses when they cannot get through at a hospital because they are there because they went to the party that they should not have gone to or to the beach or the funeral that they should not have congregated at and have picked up the virus and then they expect the government or the public health system to solve the problem and if we don't do it, we get cuss,” the minister continued.
“I really hope that will sink in and it will sink in, in our consciousness to help us to understand the importance of personal responsibilities.”
He noted that while this spike would call for a total lockdown in other countries, the government continues to maintain the decision that people need to work.
“We will continue to do what we must as a public health system, as a government. We will work hard to provide the beds, to ensure that the doctors are alert, to ensure that you get triaged or looked after when you turn up but the reality is there is so much and no more of us, there is so many beds and no more beyond a certain point, and truthfully, it doesn't have to be this way, we don't have to have the overcrowding if we respect the protocols and take personal responsibility,” Tufton said.
Noting that he believes there will be better days ahead, the minister said vaccines are expected to arrive tomorrow while others are expected to come later on.
“We will now embark on one of the most significant logistics exercise that this country has seen but it is important that we recognise until then, we must observe the protocols. We must continue to wear the mask, continue to physical distance, continue to sanitise, otherwise we will see worse days ahead,” Tufton added.
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