Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Dr. Colin V. Alert
Isolation Vacations Inc, a subsidiary of Corona-virus Families International (CVFI) is pleased to invite anyone and everyone to a series of isolation parties in a neighbourhood near you, for Crop Over 2022.
CVFI includes popular strains like the Wuhan strain, the delta strain, and the newest members of the family the Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5 strains. And to make sure we are keeping up to date with the international scene, we have a new entry making his debut this year: the rookie
Now that there has been official relaxation of the Covid-19 prevention guidelines, like enforced mask-wearing, mandatory hand sanitisation and dropping the testing of visitors coming from countries with high covid prevalence rates, the highways have been cleared for the viruses to party here. For those of you who like to spice up the lime, there’s lots of good news, and a little bit of bad news for you.
The bad news: The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), stating their concern about the effect of chasers on the health of Bajans, have put on a special tax on these chasers, in an attempt to reduce consumption.
The good news: there seems to be no such concern about the “hard stuff”. What would a Crop Over be without “the hard stuff”? While the price of food, electricity, water, gas, in fact almost everything is going up, the hard stuff is still available at the same old price. As one alcohol advertisement puts it, “if anyone feels they could drink with we let
A word of caution: This does not apply to the patients on the A-Ward at the Psychiatric Hospital, a ward dedicated to rehabilitation of those whose chronic alcohol addiction has led to a variety of mental issues.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, our main tertiary hospital, does not have a ward dedicated to alcohol-related problems: such patients are shared between the medical, surgical, psychiatry and even the cancer wards; such is the variety of health problems that alcohol can cause. Alcohol restriction is also suggested here, but this generally a case of ‘too little too late’. It makes little sense closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
More good news: recent legislation may soon make marijuana legal and available to the ‘poor black man’. No expressed concerns about potential health effects here. No health taxes here, but VAT may not be waived. No doubt we will soon be encouraged to all support this new local agriculture initiative.
So Crop Over 2022 can be the most festive festival ever. The official safety precautions have been relaxed, in the minds of many persons, prematurely. We can already see the rise in the number of Covid-19 positive patients, and a rise in the positivity rates on the island. And since only 56 per cent of our population (to date) have chosen to take the covid-19 vaccination, and we have been stuck on this number for some weeks now, no doubt our isolation centers, including those offering medical care, will soon be opening their doors to new arrivals. [while Michael and the other Jacksons have suggested that ‘one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch’, like in the case of cholesterol sub-fractions, a little ‘bad’ may completely outweigh the ‘good’.]
Once you contract Covid-19, you get mandatory time off from boring work or school. And this is where Isolation Vacation Inc. comes into the picture. Similar to the American AirBNB franchise, Isolation Vacation Inc. offers you an opportunity to recuperate (if you are lucky) in isolated lodging. Isolation Vacations Inc. has homes in all parishes in Barbados.
A few lucky persons will also be offered short term stays at the ocean-view property at Harrison Point Isolation Centre, in St. Lucy, a centre dedicated to treating those seriously affected by Covid-19. For those individuals who find this Covid-19 experience ‘takes their breath away’, Harrison’s Point offers oxygen, and even ventilators, described by many a satisfied customer as ‘a breath of fresh air’.
At Harrison Point, an international medical staff, including medical personnel from Barbados, Ghana and Cuba await you. The staff doesn’t care whether you are vaccinated or not. Unlike the experience of many who have to attend the QEH, Harrison Point has no three or four-day waiting lists for beds (at least not yet, but it is filling up fast with persons whose relatives prefer that they stay away from their usual homes), and once admitted you can’t be bothered by miserable relatives or malicious neighbors.
For many persons, Isolation Vacations Inc. finally offers them sufficient time to focus on things to be done in their own bedrooms and bathrooms, sometimes in the entire house. Anyone offering anything, like a meal, is asked to leave it outside the closed door and go away.
A few slip comfortably into the ‘work from home’ group. Many others, who have been complaining for years that they are overworked and cannot get time off, are suddenly offered the leave they claim they have been denied by demanding employers, without even having to go to a doctor.
Sadly, the offer that existed earlier in the pandemic where some persons were allowed to have all-expense paid short stay-cations in many of our local hotels is not currently being offered, but they were so popular the last time around that their return cannot be ruled out.
Crop Over 2022 can become a festive COVID-19 occasion: With little or no official restrictions, we can eat, drink, smoke, congregate, and then go for a PCR test. Remember to register with Isolation Vacations Inc.
A vacation like one you never had before awaits you. Even our cemeteries have registered with Isolated Vacations Inc. Some people are simply dying to get in.
Barbados offers you an experience ‘just beyond your imagination’. So does COVID-19. So does monkey-pox. Isolation Vacation Inc. offers the once in a lifetime (for some people) of bringing these experiences together.
Dr. Colin V. Alert, MB BS, DM. is a family physician and associate UWI family medicine lecturer.