COVID-19: What’s It Going To Take?

By Rogan Smith |
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So far, five people have died from the coronavirus, including a noted physician, more than 20 people have it and more than 200 people are in quarantine, yet Bahamians are still refusing to stay home and practice self-distancing – the very things that health experts have been pleading with them to do all along. Those facts alone forced the prime minister to take extreme measures to keep people indoors. 

On Saturday, Dr. Judson Eneas, 72, died in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 – the first physician to die from the virus.

Countries around the globe with much larger financial and human resources are grappling with this virus, unable to flatten their numbers fast enough. Worldwide, there have been more than 1 million cases of confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 58,000 deaths. 

Dr. Judson Eneas passed away on Saturday from COVID-19.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Italy, which has been ravaged by this virus, has a higher death toll than previously reported. In fact, The Journal said “many are dying uncounted” as Italy’s “stretched healthcare system struggles to save the living and accurately gauge human cost.”

Over in New York, which is much closer to The Bahamas, there have been at least 102,000 confirmed cases of the virus. Nearly 3,000 people in the state have since died.

This is why I wholeheartedly support the government’s decision to issue a shutdown until today. Those upset about the decision have absolutely no reason to be. 

Every single day medical professionals around the world are being placed in the difficult position of determining who lives and who dies because they simply do not have life-saving tools like ventilators. While helping others, they are getting sick. In Dr. Eneas’ case, he lost his life. 

Here in The Bahamas, we’re watching these traumatic events unfold before our eyes. We’re reading about the deaths. And we’re hearing the multiple warnings, but we’re not listening. 

To many of us, this is a joke. Unfortunately, our rebellious spirit and unwillingness to take orders from the people who know better will ultimately be our undoing. 

The Minnis administration has done everything to warn this nation to take precaution. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis got on national television and repeatedly pleaded with his people to stay home. The government was left with no other choice but to shut everything down. People were given liberties and took advantage of them. So, now, those small freedoms have been taken away for the good of all. 

This Is Just The Beginning

Sadly, things usually get worse before they get better. I am hoping that is not the case in The Bahamas, but based on the people’s behavior, my hopes may be in vain. There are still groups of men gathering to play basketball. I’ve read online reports of women continuing to go to salons, in spite of the government’s admonition. They are all exposing themselves. 

What we fail to realize is that there are individuals who may be carrying the COVID-19 virus who are asymptomatic. Those are likely to be the individuals who spread this disease to the masses. 

Our nation’s public hospital is already saddled with regular cases not related to this virus. People won’t understand how serious this matter is until they or a close family member are forced to go to the hospital and are not able to be served. 

The facility cannot afford to absorb large numbers of individuals with the virus. It just can’t. 

We have over 395,000 people in this country. Nearly 70 percent live in New Providence and the remaining 30 percent live on the Family Islands. We have 900 total doctors – 450 of whom are working in the private sector; 250 of that 900 are specialists and 50 are family practitioners. 

According to the latest stats (2018), obtained from Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands, in the public sector, we have a total of 1,195 registered nurses, 276 trained clinical nurses and 34 graduate nurses at the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA). In 2019, Doctors Hospital had a total of 115 registered nurses. That may sound like a lot, but it’s not. Not when dealing with a pandemic. 

The Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) has 402 beds, including a nine-bed intensive care unit. Many of those beds are already occupied. Under normal circumstances we’re overwhelmed. 

There are residents who have heeded Dr. Minnis’ call to stay at home. I applaud them for taking this matter seriously. Sadly, the ones who aren’t will ultimately compromise the health of their fellow residents.

Bishop Lawrence Rolle

I was extremely disappointed to see a video of Bishop Lawrence Rolle, better known as the Singing Bishop, where he put a fellow citizen at risk by removing his face covering and placed it on the woman’s face. 

The woman, who appears to be a senior citizen, willingly receives the piece of fabric, that is covering the bishop’s mouth and allows him to place it on hers.

She obviously thought it was funny. There was nothing funny about that moment. 

Notwithstanding the good bishop’s assertion that he was “under the blood”, what he did was highly irresponsible. 

He also put himself at risk by getting so close to that woman and others. 

This is a difficult time for everyone. No one wants to be cooped up for an extended period. But, things are about to get even more difficult if more people become infected. 

Flattening this curve is going to take a huge effort from every resident – not just in New Providence, but in the Family Islands as well. The pandemic will last for as long as people ignore warnings to stay at home and self

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