Trinidad and Tobago has seen in the past four weeks disturbing trend in covid-19 infections and related covid-19 related deaths. There has also been the dangerous development of the identification of the more virulent new Brazilian variant of the virus in the country. While the country was the toast of the western world in terms of how the pandemic was handled from its onset in March of 2020 to the start of 2021, the trends and projections have now taken a deadly turn.
On Monday Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley addressed tha nation and announced tighter restrictions aimed at curtailing non essential movement of citizens with a view to getting infection rates and transmission of the virus down. Dr. Maryam Abdul-Richards the country’s principal medical officer detailed the grim reality of the bed space in the country’s parallel health care system, designed to accommodate 542 covid-19 patients, presently at 48% capacity. Additionally she projected that at the current rates of infections and hospitalisations the country could run out of beds in the parallel heath care system, in as little as ten (10) days, a frightening possibility. But what are some of the main contributing factors in this drastic turn of events in the country.
A covid-19 data tracking and trend projection website covid19.healthdata.org has been tracking data on covid-19 infections, deaths, wearing of masks and social distancing (as identified by cell phone proximity) in countries around the world. The data related to Trinidad and Tobago shows that citizens , while observing high levels of vigilance in November of 2020, with 79% mask use (including the proper wearing of masks). This index had dropped to 65 % by May 05th 2021.
Additionally the citizens also displayed a reduction in adherence to social distancing in recent times.
The data projections also showed continued upward trends in infections and deaths if the current situation was not mitigated. In comparison both Barbados and Jamaica showed downward trends in both infections and death projected for the coming weeks.