So, it seems that the outbreak is over. We have won the “war”. We have vanquished the virus.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago has just one patient hospitalised for Covid-19 in the High Dependency Unit at the Couva Children’s Hospital. Four ambulatory cases are stationed at the Home of Football Wellness Centre, waiting to go home. There are another 91 people quarantined at the UWI Debe Campus and NAPA.
From the 116 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 103 patients have recovered and have returned home. There have been eight deaths. There have been no new cases since April 26, ie. for the last 14 days. One more day and that’s it boys and girls, we are home scot-free.
The idea that we were ever in a “war” with a virus, with nature itself, however, is offensive to those people who live or lived through real wars. Our “war” consisted in staying home surrounded, in the main, by all the comforts of our time, home entertainment, easy access to food and lack of personal danger except that of becoming bored.
It should also be clear that our success as a species living in a hostile world has little to do with winning a war. It has much more to do with our adaptability as a species, our ability to twist and turn and format our body against the ravages of nature, to convert over eons, the bacteria and parasites and viruses that surround us into our servants.
There are more bacteria inside of us than we have body cells so much so that one wonders whether they are our servants or we theirs? Measles used to cure children with certain kidney diseases and people in West Africa have adapted to the malaria parasite by evolving the sickle cell gene which gives them protection against malaria.
In the same way curried foods are said to have developed when peoples in the Ganges delta noticed that those who ate hot curries seemed more resistant to cholera. In the modern era, beer and marijuana seems to have the same effect on cholera. All three increase stomach acid which is one of our defences against gastrointestinal infections.
However as Calvin told Hobbes, “It offends the human ego that nature is indifferent to us” so we come up with idiotic expressions that express our frustration yet make good sound bites.
Putting aside all comments about how many tests we are doing in T&T, just over two thousand now, one of the lowest in the world, and that apparently includes 652 community tests in the past two weeks, all negative, although no one knows what the criteria for testing people in the community are and forgetting for the moment the apparent increase in deaths from pneumonia, MoH says they are too busy to check out the figures and compare them to previous years, the question must be how did we do this?
How did little T&T eliminate the virus so quickly?
There appear to be five or six schools of thought.
First the Government has really done an exceptional job of following CARPHA/PAHO guidelines to control the outbreak. Kudos to them.
Two, since there has been so little testing, there is little chance of picking up positives using a test that has a false negative percentage of between 15 to 30 per cent.
Three, God is a Trini. That appears unlikely. Venes believe God is a Venezuelan and there is also not much Covid- 19 over there.
This could be another reason why the Venezuelan VP visited the PM with a couple PDVSA directors. To discuss Covid-19? There is also the question of obeah since a former PM’s personal obeah woman, at last count, was said to be living in Venezuela.
Could the virus have been brought here for Carnival? Young Trinidadian masqueraders could have been infected, asymptomatically or otherwise, and we are protected because we have developed herd immunity? We should find out when antibody testing ever becomes available here.
Finally it could be sunlight. The US Department of Homeland Security reported last week that half the virus may be killed in as little as two minutes if it’s exposed to direct sunlight.
The thing is. If this story is true, if we have stopped Covid-19 in its tracks, people will be coming to T&T for the next decade to find out how exactly how we did this.
In the meantime, following the best science of course, KFC is open and so is the cigarette factory.