I have written several articles on COVID 19 and I know some of us are perhaps tired of reading about COVID 19 but the truth is we must continue to write about COVID 19 until the majority of people realize the impact of COVID 19.
We must not take COVID 19 lightly. I was in South Caicos (my place of birth) recently for a funeral and I noticed that quite a number of people in the community were not wearing masks. I asked one particular person why she was not wearing a mask. She replied by saying that there is no COVID 19 in South Caicos and therefore she does not have to wear a mask.
The thing is we do not know if there is COVID 19 in South Caicos because no testing was done in South Caicos and perhaps no one is showing any symptoms of the virus.
Based on the latest dashboard, COVID 19 is spreading rapidly in the Turks and Caicos and this should set the alarm bells ringing.
Will curfews control the outbreak?
The Government has implemented curfews on the islands of Providenciales, North Caicos and Parrot Cay. Providenciales is from 10pm to 5am and North Caicos and Parrot Cay are from 8pm to 5am.
Personally I do not think these curfews will control the outbreak of COVID 19. Anyone can contract the virus anytime of the day therefore the curfew will not control the outbreak.
Will lockdowns control the outbreak?
There are many people who suggest we need a total lockdown like what the Bahamas has implemented. While it is true that we had only 12 cases during the lockdown, locking down the country is not the answer.
You will find that when you lockdown someone, they will always find a way to escape. We had lockdowns and people were still roaming the streets and lying to police officers that they were on their way to essential places such as the Pharmacy or the Grocery store.
Controlling the behaviour of people will control the outbreak
We continue to educate the public that three basic things can control the spread of COVID 19 which is 1) wearing masks, 2) practicing social distance and 3) washing your hands frequently. Despite the public education, many people are not adhering to this, therefore we must control their behaviours. One way to control the behaviour of individuals is the enforcement of the regulations. We must set an example to others by fining and arresting individuals who refused to abide by the regulations that were passed. We must also likewise fine businesses. In order to do this, we must dispatch resources throughout the country to ensure that individuals are adhering to the three basic things above.
Separating the COVID 19 positive cases from the masses will control the outbreak
Many weeks ago, when returning residents returned to the TCI, they had a choice of whether to be quarantined at a facility or at home. Many chose a facility.
I believe that in order to control the outbreak of the virus, we need to put all of the positive cases in a facility. A number of resorts are not opening up until October and so we have available space.
Being at home is very risky and requires a lot of discipline, control and space. You may try to best to stay away from individuals in your home with COVID 19 but it is a challenge. Therefore the best thing to do is have individuals in a separate facility away from family and friends until they are recovered.
We must ensure however that these individuals are monitored frequently, checked on by the Ministry of Health frequently and they must be fed and treated with respect no matter their nationality.
The spread of COVID 19 must be controlled. We must try something different. If you do the same thing, you will get the same results so try something different.
We must also ensure that more testing is done to know our true numbers as there are persons in the community with the virus but we do not know who they are because they have not demonstrated any symptoms.
If we do not control the spread of COVID 19 then COVID 19 can easily spread to each person in the country. Obviously we do not want this to happen and so we must control the behaviours of individuals and we must separate the positive cases from the rest of the community.