The Quarantine Pill

Dear Hon. Premier and Hon. Minister of Health,

Let me begin by saying that COVID-19 is not the problem of the Government, the opposition, the British, the black people, the white people or any other group. This problem belongs to all of us and requires collective blame and collective responsibility. We all have to do our part in the prevention and eradication of COVID-19.

Although we all have to do our part, at the end of the day the Government of the day will ultimately be held accountable and responsible for leadership in the response to the pandemic.  This is because it is the Government of the day who has the positional and enforceable power to effect change and make rules and regulations that the general public has to adhere to.  No other group above has such power.

With that said, we need you to implement a full 24hr quarantine (Shelter in Place) throughout the entire country for at least 14 days to mitigate the current spread of COVID-19 which can only occur by halting the free movement of people (and honestly, carriers) for a period of time. Clearly contact tracing has not been as effective because we are 4 to 8 days away from knowing that an individual has COVID and then asking that person/s to quarantine.  Let me further explain in 2 examples (note that this is not for every case but some cases).

Firstly, a cleaner in my office had COVID over 6 weeks ago.  Her daughter gave it to her.  Her daughter was tested on a Wednesday and got her results on a Saturday.  We were inform on the Saturday and visited by the MOE on Monday.  Six days had already passed since the lady had COVID symptoms and the time MOE showed up to our doors.  If any of us had it, it would have spread to our family and friends.  It is as easy as that.

Secondly, as stated by the MOE, portions of the persons testing positive for COVID have no links to other COVID patients.  They could possibly spread it to others unknowingly and unintentionally. By the time they have noticed the symptoms many days could have past and other could be at risk. If they are asymptomatic, this is even worse and many people could be harmed.

Please understand that we are failing miserably in the management of this pandemic.  Please consider the we are at the bottom of the testing pool when compared to our sister countries like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and BVI that have similar dynamics and populations sizes but have tested more people then we have.  Please see figures below:

Country # of COVID Cases # of Active Cases Population # of Test
Turks and Caicos Islands 508 304 38,804 2,430
Cayman Islands 205 2 65,850 35,469
Bermuda 172 8 62,238 45,022
British Virgin lslands 47 38 30,265 2,853

If the people refuse to listen and obey the rules, then you must make stricter rules to protect them from themselves. However, we must also acknowledge the reality that most of the spread reported are indeed “work-place” related spreads. This means the rapid increase in active cases cannot be entirely attributed to a failure to adhere to social distancing protocols and the reduction of social activities. The reality is, social distancing becomes an impossible goal to achieve in face to face employment, hence the rapid spread we’ve seen in less than two months!  If we are not prepared to do more testing to the general public, then we must return to quarantine for 14 days for the following reasons:

• It will slow the spread of the virus and allow the MOE to catch up to the virus since we are 4 to 8 days behind it;
• Those who are asymptomatic will be cured during this period and it would prevent them from harming others;
• The persons that are sick will come forward thus mitigating the guessing game;
• We are in September the slowest period for tourism so shutting down sooner than later will be more effective;
• The country will get the reset that it needs and deserves given the problems we are experiencing; and
• Last but not least, I don’t want to see another person die from this disease if we can control this.

Please consider my position and help our beautiful by nature country. The WHO has maintained from the beginning that every country has the ability to defeat Covid-19 only if Governments would embrace their responsibility and make the very difficult decisions required in putting the health of their nations first, above everything else.

Kind Regards,

Deveraux Malcolm

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