On Saturday, T&T recorded three new COVID-19 deaths, meeting the grim milestone of 4,000 lives lost since the pandemic hit T&T in 2020.
Although in March, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh advised the population that the country and wider world were moving from the “pandemic stage” to the “endemic stage”, we continue to record deaths daily.
T&T’s first COVID-19 death was in March 2020 and since then, thousands of families have been left in deep mourning for their loved ones.
Almost two-and-a-half years later, T&T has hit the dreaded mark.
Meanwhile, a family in Arima who lost a member to COVID-19 is still grieving.
A woman who only gave her first name as Yvette said her oldest brother, aged 56, passed away last November at Caura Hospital.
“He died from COVID-19-related complications. It was a blood cot. His lungs were affected. We lost him. It was sad to lose someone who was still in his prime and healthy,” she lamented.
Yvette said that his wife, who is still trying to come to terms with his death, never came back to the house in Arima as it is a painful reminder of his death.
Yvette said she always thinks of him as his death is still fresh.
“You get up and you think of him. I could still hear him calling me sometimes. It’s not easy. This COVID pandemic really ruined lives.”
She is fully vaccinated and urges the rest of the country to do the same.
“Some people say this pandemic is over. It’s obvious we have a long way to go. They said 4,000 people died from this. People have to be careful as we don’t know who is next.”
Ministry of Health COVID-19 reach 4000 death
'No one spared'
No one has been spared as men and women, young and old, poor and the wealthy have all died from this pandemic that has shaken the world since 2020.
Soca parang star Kenwrick Joseph AKA Kenny J died from it in early 2022, and so did soca artiste Dexter Stewart AKA Blaxx this year.
Prime minister Dr Keith Rowley also tested positive for COVID-19.
Getting the population vaccinated was another problem, as by early 2022 less than half of the population was vaccinated, reflecting “vaccine hesitancy”.
This led to the Prime Minister issuing threats to public servants and other groups of workers to get vaccinated or face the consequences.
In the private sector, employees were told to get vaccinated or get another job.
In Saturday’s Ministry of Health update, a mere 51 per cent of the population was recorded as being fully vaccinated.
Daily press briefings for almost two years by the Ministry of Health warning citizens that they face hospitalisation or even death were not enough to convince large sections of the population of the need to get vaccinated, or to not host fetes or have large gatherings.
A former health minister and well-respected doctor Fuad Khan constantly said the lockdown was not necessary as the COVID-19 was not the deadly threat it was made out to be.
'Small businesses wiped out'
Apart from the physical deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic also wreaked havoc on the country’s economy.
Several lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 resulted in small businesses being wiped out and saw a rise in unemployment.
In March, in a media release, the Government blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the present inflation crisis the country is facing.
“Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the global economy, resulting in rising prices of goods and services internationally and locally,” the release said.
In December 2021, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning told the Sunday Guardian that over $5 billion had been spent on protecting vulnerable citizens and in buying vaccines.
The Sunday Guardian called him yesterday for an updated figure, but he did not answer his phone.