Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has admitted to the nation that he was “deathly afraid” COVID-19 cases would skyrocket very soon.
There is good reason for his fear and worry as yesterday, the country marked the third straight day of recording over 500 new infections.
The double-digit deaths are showing no signs of slowing, as the national death toll rose to 1,828 as ten more lives were lost.
The Minister is not the only person verbalising their trepidation and anxiety.
Business leaders have spoken to the anxiety they feel as they watch cases rise daily and fear another lockdown looms and what such a move could not only do to the fragile economy but the mental health of citizens.
Religious leaders also expressed a similar unease.
During an interview on The Morning Panchayat on Akash Vani 106.5FM, part of Guardian Media Limited family, Minister Deyalsingh expounded on his worry, noting that the State of Emergency, which concludes at month-end, could give way to parties and mass gatherings, which in turn will propel COVID’s spread.
This is something T&T does not need with the parallel healthcare system struggling for bed space and resources to treat those already stricken with the disease.
But the Minister also lamented how nonchalant citizens have become to COVID fatalities. He said had there been 12 murders a day, “there will be calls for this, calls for that...but every day 12 families are plunged into mourning because of COVID-19... and there is no anxiety, no gnashing of teeth.”
The Minister is right in his assessment. T&T has become too desensitised and merely regard the loss of life and grief being experienced by families as statistics.
In fact, some often take to social media to debunk these deaths, calling them “lies” and a ploy by the government “to get people vaccinated.” They show no care, empathy or compassion for the void left in families, communities and the lives shattered when a COVID patient dies.
For Roman Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon, the recent rise in cases and the unwillingness of some people to get vaccinated all point to a lack of discipline. Earlier this week, as he joined those stakeholders expressing anxiety about another lockdown, the Archbishop decried the lack of control and regulation across the country, noting that discipline was needed “now more than ever” to combat the disease.
Although it is one of T&Ts watchwords, many have been short on discipline during the current pandemic. There have been numerous breaches of the Public Health Regulations and the State of Emergency, despite the constant pleadings and explanations from Health, Government and law enforcement officials about how critical it was for citizens to adhere to them.
But it is never too late to turn a new leaf.
The course the nation takes in the next coming weeks will not only determine how 2021 ends but how we start 2022.
Our future and lives literally depend on how disciplined we, as a people, can be knowing what COVID-19 has done to the country.
Citizens have the final say on if the rising cases and deaths will begin to decline and, more importantly, how soon.