When Covid-19 was first recorded in Trinidad and Tobago our government was praised for taking swift preventative actions in order to hamper the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of the Trinbagonian people.
From as early as March, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported, travel restrictions to and from China were put in place. On the 16th of the same month, the government announced a border closure to everyone except nationals and health workers for a 14-day period. Bars were then closed and the school closures (originally implemented on March 13) were extended to April 20.
Days later on March 21, National Security Minister Stuart Young made the decision to close entirely all borders, he did this to everyone, nationals and non-nationals alike. This went into effect on March 22 at midnight. He said no international flights would be allowed to enter the country, yet the same minister granted high-level Venezuelan officials entry into the country mere days after the closure.
Harsh lockdowns were implemented by March. March 29 all activities that the government deemed “non-essential” were prohibited. By May the articles started circulating online about the “Covid-underdogs” who defeated the other countries in handling Covid-19. For those taken by the mas-hysteria of the mainstream media, celebration and safety seemed to rest within the confines of our borders. By June, most were sure that unless the borders were re-opened, community spread of Covid-19 was impossible; T&T, it was thought, had acted swift enough to defeat the virus.
From May to August the virtual hurrah continued online, it failed however to echo through the now vacant small businesses, much of which cannot now afford to reopen. Anyone daring so much as to speak out against these lockdowns and closures instantly finds himself branded as a conspiracy theorist who needs to remove his “tinfoil hat.” Ironically those demanding the removal of the tinfoil hats are the ones speaking through the plastic face shields…“Is it not better,” the mainstream thinkers say, “for some businesses to close than for everyone to die of the deadliest virus earth has ever seen?” And so, the justification for shutting down the small man continues while the large corporate monopolies continue to boom, after all, these monopolies already have so much market control, that at this point, they cannot be stopped.
T&T’s August 10 general election has just passed, the PNM won the election, perhaps mainly as a result of the publics’ positive perception of their Covid-19 related policies and procedures. Now, however, it is mid-August, international borders remain closed and heavy restrictions have been reimplemented since, (surprise, surprise) the lockdown did not do what everyone originally thought; it failed completely in containing the virus.
The saddest dimension of the election is that a significant majority of the registered voters chose not to vote, far more than those that voted. That democracy in T&T is becoming a type of racially grounded aristocracy is another story in itself, today we are addressing the Covid-19 panic and failure. The main point and reason for mentioning the election is to say this: the PNM were viewed positively for “defeating Covid-19” and despite the hype, community spread is in full spring.
How could this happen?
The answer is simple: the number of tests conducted was and remains far too low. It is impossible to discover the number of cases without doing large scale testing. Added to the issue of under testing is the additional reality that, since Covid-19 barely affects the majority of those it infects, the number of people going forward for testing and/or medical attention is also far too low.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said there were 3,000 test kits in Trinidad on March 16th. This did not mean 3,000 tests were conducted then, but rather that they could potentially test up to 3,000 people. Up until April 5, T&T only tested 74 people, 3 of which were positive. On the same day (April 5) a new update was given by the ministry of health stating that 797 tests were submitted to CARPHA for testing, of which 104 were positive. Since then testing has now increased significantly, with around 19,000 being conducted. Yet in retrospect, this number remains insignificant since it is only 1% of the total population (working with a population of 1.4m).
The Covid-19 Reality
It is truly unfair and dishonest to call Covid-19 deadly or to act as though it kills over 90% of those it infects. The exact opposite is the case, over 95% of the confirmed people that contract Covid-19 get over it without a problem (and this is not even to speak of the countless cases that pass undetected or remain untested).
As of August 18, the virus has killed just over 2% of the confirmed infected people in T&T. This percentage will decrease when one considers that they are many people who may have the virus and recover without ever being tested since it does not have any major effects on those without pre-existing health conditions.
Considering the total population, Covid-19 has killed 0.00099% of T&T being less deadly than getting into a car…
Despite Covid-19 now being at the community spread level in T&T, the government continues to keep its borders closed. That we are still acting as though Covid-19 is extremely deadly is baffling enough, but that our borders and beaches remain closed is absolutely dumbfounding. T&T is at community spread, the virus will get to many. The bad news? Obviously, a small minority of unhealthy people with pre-existing health conditions will die. The good news? Most will get over it as though it was nothing more than a cold, in fact, if only they were no brainwashing media, they would have thought exactly that.
Until we again begin to use our common sense and get our heads out the sand we will continue to allow fear to be weaponized against us and our own private industries to be shut down while the government-affiliated conglomerates grow, dominate, and monopolize.
May God Bless Our Nation!