Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
Perhaps this may not be published or may be truncated to become irrelevant as it goes against public opinion and the wave of hysteria riding the world. I am no lone ranger trying to save the world, but I have an acute allergy to deceit and kowtowing. Some of you may be offended by the bluntness of this essay, but Barbados’ culture of sweeping things under the carpet has, however, placed our social fabric on a path of delayed destruction.
Every year, the highly infectious Mycobacterium Tuberculosis kills 1.8 million people around the world according to the WHO. The main killer of Brazilians is heart disease among its 210 million population, resulting in a cumulative crude death rate from all diseases of 6.5 per cent. As at August 3, 2020, the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Brazil stood at 66, 000 persons and this will be added to the average yearly deaths of 1.4 million persons. Not trying to discount the highly contagious COVID-19 disease, but the numbers have me a bit puzzled and you may be as well.
In the land of the free where McDonald’s and Wendy’s serve you oversized portions of food and drink, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease are the common causes of death. The crude death rate in the US is 2.8 million persons or 8.63 persons per 1, 000 within a population of 328 million persons. Out of 4.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US, 159, 000 died as of August 3rd, 2020. During 2017, approximately 647, 000 persons died from heart disease and 599, 000 died from cancer. Compare that with COVID-19 deaths at August 3rd, 2020 in the US, which stood at 159, 000 persons.
COVID-19 is highly contagious and does not discriminate among the elderly, immunocompromised and weak. This disease can be avoided and sent back to the bushes if we all wash our hands, avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces, wear masks and properly maintain social distancing and avoid crowded areas. However, some couldn’t care less about the vulnerable and forget everything and another person gets infected, and the disease comes one step closer to us.
The idea that Peter must pay for Paul through an island wide shut down will mean the demise of many SMEs which have not transitioned to online commerce or are incapable of doing so. Thus, those who callously and carelessly flout the measures and protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 must be punished severely as if it were an act of treason for our island nation is under threat. Many are incapable of comprehending what would happen if a travel advisory is issued against Barbados and the planes and ships stop coming. Maybe they can identify with a shortage of skin bleaching cream, corn flakes, Remy hair or beer.
Let me also again state that the COVID-19 messaging needs refining to one of hope. The message has to be one of eliminating this virus from among us and sending it back to the bushes. Yes, higher infection rates may mean more exposure and probability of death for the vulnerable, but we must critically sit and analyze what we are being fed daily. No comfort is had when independent investigative research shows more money is spent on advertising by pharmaceutical companies than on drug research.
Recovery rates and not infection rates must be the focus. Our own statistics have shown that deaths are low even among the vulnerable and most persons are asymptomatic. Every woman, man and child must play their part in stopping this highly contagious disease from spreading. This disease can be avoided if we all played our part, and perhaps it’s time an artist comes up with a mantra or a jingle to rally the country to unite in this fight. Let’s do it for the vulnerable and ourselves. For we owe it to each other.
We need to develop our own narratives, lead the way and not just follow incompetent countries. May I remind the country that as long as I’ve known myself, there is always a spike in viral illnesses in Barbados during what we call the tourist season. The retort from doctors has always been “just another viral illness going around” without media frenzy, fanfare or hysteria.
Stay safe, act responsibly, we can kill COVID-19!