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Pervasive is Covid. No continent exempted. No dame absolved. No lord excluded. No Duchess spared. For it fills the air. Of which we must breathe. And with handmaids afflicted. Thou shalt not celebrate. For death at your nostrils. Wherefore, a minuscule inhaled Covid. May taketh your breath away.
Covid in Trinidad
Trinidad’s population of 1.5M, not unlike the rest of the world, is under a Covid assault, for which Prime Minister Dr. Rowley ticked all the right boxes, inclusive of laws enforcing Public Health measures. Mandatory face-coverings. Inescapable Social distancing. Outlawed Social gatherings. Monitored quarantines and isolations. Airports closures. Lockdowns, curfews and state of emergencies employed without fear. Vaccines?
Dr. Rowley procured Oxford-AstraZeneca but cognisant we are that manufacturing is by Indian hands but with their catastrophic Covid demands, exportation is limited. Compounding this, was a British/EU diplomatic spat over said vaccine for which manufacturing and exportations became collateral damage. Consequently, these unforeseen circumstances delayed Trinidad’s vaccines, for which only 4% of the population is with first dose in arms and 0.1% doubly vaccinated.
And it’s on this backdrop that Trinidad was visited by the variants, which having broken through the paper-thin defences of the unimmunised, caused exponential increases in deaths and cases. But this spike wasn’t dumbfounding for Trinidadians since three weeks prior, Dr. Rowley forewarned of Covid getting worse before getting better. And certainly, that’s what pummelling the carnival twin-island.
Covid in Guyana
Guyana population of 750K Covid management sits under the umbrella of the highly politicised NCTF that disturbingly couldn’t unshackle themselves from their politics, which ultimately aided and abetted PPP abrogation of all Public Health measures instituted by APNU+AFC. Airports and ports arbitrarily reopened. Lockdown outlawed. Face-covering, social distancing and restricted social gathering made optional. Quarantining and isolating unsupervised. Vaccines begged for rather than bought, with the vast majority donated not WHO approved. Consequently, with 50% having received one shot of hope, hopelessly deaths and cases continue to exponentially increase.
Bharat Jagdeo as Finance Minister and President, never had a successful project, for which the Skeldon white elephant stands testimony. Thereupon, with such an ignominious record in his chosen profession, it was surely flabbergasting the decision of his to venture beyond his academic abilities, donning white coat and stethoscope, masquerading as an agent of the noble profession. So naturally, speculations were rife as to the genesis of his fantastical metamorphosis but sooner rather than later the concretised consensus was on his honorary doctorate, which was conferred on the condition of being limited to communications with the conferring institution. But astonishingly, all and sundry, from pickpockets to politicians, were habitually referencing him as doctor, so it was only a matter of time before such insidious academic misappropriations fortify his delusions that doctoral prognostications, investigations and death certifications, were his to make. Then alas, his inescapable helium inflated ego impelled public postulation on lockdowns, disparaging world experts’ determination of a negative correlation between lockdowns and viral density. Predictably, the creme de la creme of academia were irretrievably gobsmacked that a man of no academic standing would repudiate world renowned scholars, in proffering that lockdowns can’t reduce Guyana’s viral density. Certainly, such an abase supposition warrants an interrogation of Jagdeo’s bona fides.
1. Is Jagdeo a medical doctor? NO
2. How many Public Health publications has he? NONE
3. How many academic papers in Public Health has he critically appraised? NONE
4. How many Public Health books has he authored or co-authored? NONE
And with such a humiliatingly naked CV, the unambiguous conclusion is, without fear of his impotent black book, that his prognostication on lockdowns has its underpinning in ignorance, limited to the realm of personal opinion that’s befitting of rum-shop scandalmongering but surely not to inform serious public health Covid policies disputations.
But this unlettered utterance of Bharat Jagdeo needs re-examining, to open eyes to his ulterior motive. For evident to all was the PPP J’ouvert celebrations on Trinidad’s Covid death spikes. And surely harlequinade intoxicated, hopeless was their search, for a foundational apologia on their no-lockdown all-dead policy, that brainlessly they argued that lockdowns are ineffective since deaths have visited Trinidad, in spite of. But undisputed is my aforementioned deconstruction, notwithstanding PPP crass comportment, mandating a crash-course in research principles for Jagdeo et al.
Deconstructing lockdown benefits
And Critical appraisal, the methodical review of research outcomes to ascertain trustworthiness, shall be the terminus a quo. Assuredly, this concept deconstruction is illuminated via a hypothetical research of n=5 men, aim at establishing normal height range, with measurements in ft, 1, 6, 6, 6.5 and 10.
But a perusal of the data, 1ft and 10ft standout on account of significant deviations from the other values.
Further, if depicted on a bell-curve, 1ft and 10ft will occupy the extremes hence are statistical outliers which are pervasive in research, with varying addressing strategies.
Nevertheless, this hypothetical foundation will serve as the basis to examine PPP argument that lockdowns will not reduce our viral density. As a matter of fact, their argumentation will be the underpinning of the hypothesis in this qualitative research, so characterised for being narrative and not numerical.
But from the outset, express I must that erroneous it would be to take Trinidad’s outcome as representative of the wider global lockdown cohort, for potentially it maybe an outlier. As a result, analysis of the total cohort (other countries) outcomes are mandated.
Granted, geography has informed us of 195 countries in the world, of which more than 180 are afflicted by Covid. Of the 180 countries, based on WHO data, 110 instituted lockdowns as part of public health measures. Generally, these interventions resulted in decreased infections and deaths, reflective of decreased viral density. In contrast, countries that failed to institute lockdowns, as part of public health measures, had worse outcomes.
But such outcomes aren’t without limitations. Firstly, the term lockdown is of conflicting semantics, having different meaning to different people, hence may impact outcomes interpretations. Secondly, the effects of lockdowns aren’t immediate hence premature assessments may potentially lead to underestimations of their benefits.
Notwithstanding the above, multiple research, case studies and modelling have consistently demonstrated that lockdowns are effective in reducing viral density, with deaths and new cases being the primary endpoint.
Further, WHO has endorsed lockdowns, recommending utilisation as short-term measures to reorganise, regroup and rebalance resources to protect exhausted health workers, which speaks to lockdowns reducing hospitalisation from reduce viral density.
Death per capita
Absolute death numbers, when corrected for population equate to death/capita which as a comparator of health performances supersedes absolute death numbers, for absolute death numbers are population dependent. And it’s in this context of Covid, death/capita will be the comparator of Covid management for Guyana and Trinidad, that share Caribbean demographics.
Indeed, based on the John Hopkins University, the death/capita for Guyana calculates at 52 and Trinidad 35 which such significant disparity reflecting a significantly higher Covid death rate for Guyana compared to Trinidad.
And in the wider Caribbean, Guyana has by far the highest Covid death/capita which represents the worse Covid management and death-rate, in the Caribbean. So with this dismal record, question I must of the justification for PPP J’ouvert celebration?