The continued rise in COVID-19 cases in Barbados has come as no surprise to the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP).
That is according to its public relations officer Dr Russell Broome-Webster who said the increase in cases had been predicted by health officials.
On Tuesday, Barbados recorded 923 new cases, the highest ever number of positive cases in a single day, while the second highest number, 723, was reported on Wednesday.
In a press conference three weeks ago, after it was confirmed that the Omicron variant of the virus had been detected here, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best reported that a University of the West Indies study had predicted that, in a worst-case scenario, Barbados could see a wave lasting six or seven weeks with as many as 3,500 cases per day.
A shorter wave lasting a month had also been forecast, with up to 1,200 cases per day at its peak.
“We certainly were aware that due to the transmission dynamics on the island, that something had changed towards the end of last year and that change was in keeping with the new variant being present on the island, which is extremely transmissible,” Dr Broome-Webster said in an interview with Barbados TODAY. “Some places would quote it to be as transmissible as a virus such as measles, which is the most transmissible respiratory virus that we are aware of.”
“Once Omicron arrived, we anticipated that there would be very high numbers of cases. I would say, fortunately and unfortunately, we do still have a large portion of people who are vaccinated. We are approaching 70 per cent or so and that is still a good thing but because of the transmissibility of the virus we still worry that we can have large outbreaks,” he added.
The BAMP PRO noted that there was some suggestion from the Pan American Health Organization that Barbados would be a country of concern, especially with increased tourist activity.
“And, obviously, anytime there is increased gatherings such as political meetings or any other gatherings – I mean, people have been gathering with pretty limited restrictions since December or so – then you’re going to have an increase in cases,” he said.
“There were a lot of tests done yesterday, which is encouraging because if we can do more testing then we can obviously find more cases but it just shows that we have to continue to drive in terms of vaccination. Certainly, Omicron in particular has more escape from previous natural immunity and that is something that we must take into consideration.”
Dr Broome-Webster said BAMP would continue to encourage persons to get vaccinated and boosted, especially as the third shot had shown to provide added protection against the Omicron variant.