A worrying week

It has been a top­ic that was sched­uled to be dis­cussed by se­nior health of­fi­cials

The week is end­ing on an­oth­er very wor­ry­ing note re­gard­ing COVID-19 in this coun­try.

Yes­ter­day the coun­try record­ed 14 deaths, which meant in the space of just five days—from Sun­day to Fri­day—71 peo­ple suc­cumbed to the dis­ease.

Com­pound­ing the as­tound­ing loss of life, COVID cas­es ap­pear to be on the rise.

Both Wednes­day and Thurs­day over 300-plus cas­es were record­ed.

In one in­stance, the new cas­es have been the high­est num­ber the coun­try has seen in five months.

The spread of the dis­ease has been re­port­ed among mem­bers of vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing the Blind Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion and at the La­dy Ho­choy Home with three chil­dren and eleven adults bat­tling COVID.

On­ly yes­ter­day, ge­neti­cist Dr Nicole Ram­lachan said the ris­ing cas­es could be at­trib­uted to an ap­par­ent spike in the Delta vari­ant.

Al­ready the vari­ant, which has been con­firmed in al­most 140 peo­ple in­clud­ing three preg­nant women, is well in com­mu­ni­ty spread in al­most all coun­ties through­out the length and breadth of Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Health of­fi­cials have been warn­ing that the plateau­ing of cas­es the coun­try saw ear­li­er this year has now giv­en way to a po­ten­tial es­ca­la­tion in new in­fec­tions, which is be­ing mon­i­tored.

The lev­el of vac­cine hes­i­tan­cy among the pop­u­la­tion has not waned de­spite ef­forts to change the cam­paign and ap­peal.

This is def­i­nite­ly not an ac­cept­able po­si­tion for the na­tion to be in as the year inch­es to an end.

As the gov­ern­ment no doubt pon­ders and plans its next move to man­age COVID-19, it must give se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to those who have al­ready re­ceived a full dose of a COVID-19 vac­cine but may want or re­quire an added lay­er of pro­tec­tion.

A boost­er shot or a third dose of a vac­cine has been ap­proved by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and is al­ready be­ing ad­min­is­tered in sev­er­al coun­tries for those who are im­muno­com­pro­mised.

It has been a top­ic that was sched­uled to be dis­cussed by se­nior health of­fi­cials.

But giv­en the present sit­u­a­tion lo­cal­ly and the fact that there have been break­through COVID-pos­i­tive cas­es among the vac­ci­nat­ed with some even con­tract­ing the Delta vari­ant, these dis­cus­sions should be ex­pe­dit­ed and thor­ough­ly fleshed out.

While the at­ten­tion and fo­cus have been placed on the un­vac­ci­nat­ed who are the ones falling ill and re­spon­si­ble for the high num­bers of hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions, con­sid­er­a­tion should al­so be placed on cat­e­gories among the vac­ci­nat­ed who are still sus­pectable to in­fec­tions, though rare, and de­sire to pro­tect them­selves fur­ther.

There is in­deed enough vac­cines in stock to make this hap­pen, with­out ham­per­ing the quest to reach herd im­mu­ni­ty.

Giv­en the se­ries of events re­lat­ed to COVID-19 this week, any and every­thing should be done to pre­vent the dis­ease from hold­ing this coun­try in a choke­hold once again.