Response to the Government's New Approach to the Pandemic - Dear Editor

Response to the Government’s New Approach to the Pandemic – Dear Editor

The government has decided to relieve itself of the responsibility of managing one of the worst health crises in many of our lifetimes, which is also impacting social services and the economy. It insists that things can easily return to normal right away, against the advice of health experts both locally and internationally.
Andrew Holness, the supposed Prime Minister, says that ‘the strategy’ to manage the pandemic is vaccination and refuses to do anything else. The WHO has warned that vaccines alone are not enough to manage this pandemic and that even vaccinated individuals need to take extra measures to slow the spread of the virus; still, the government insists that it will not tighten curfew measures or do any form of lockdowns anymore. Even when it did lockdowns, it never made distinctions between well-ventilated and poorly-ventilated places, unnecessarily closing outdoor venues during tight measures and having indoor venues with poor ventilation open when measures were relaxed.
On top of that, even if vaccinations alone were sufficient, the government has not done a good job in ensuring that people get vaccinated. Since last summer, most vaccination sites – including the major ones – have been closing at 3pm and 4pm and making it difficult for working-class people with day jobs to go. There are also reports of people showing up to sites thinking that they would be open and then finding out that they are closed. No real incentives have been offered or any mandates made.
On the matter of incentives, the government could have required businesses to give 2 paid sick days to each worker for each dose of a vaccine that they take, as well as some more sick days if a fully-vaccinated worker still gets ill from COVID-19 after being vaccinated.
On the matter of mandates, Holness said that he would not go that route until after effort has been put into public education. So far, we have not seen sufficient effort be put into public education to get persons to understand the importance of vaccines and dispel the myths they may encounter while they try to search for information in the absence of government efforts to provide such information.
In general, the government which is supposed to manage public health, has left it to private sector to issue mandates which cause tensions between employers and employees. This puts unions in the strange position of having to oppose such mandates because they are rightfully concerned about how much an employer, that they may not work for forever, can be involved in their personal lives and health decisions. Such mandates should be matters of the state to consider, not employers. The government’s hands-off approach has even led to cases being brought to the courts as tensions rise between employers and employees.
We are desperate to return to normal, but we cannot pretend that things can go back to normal so easily. People are dying all around us. The decision to resume face-to-face learning was hasty, and without sufficient preparation. Children are able to contract and transmit COVID-19, but those below 12 years old are not yet allowed to be vaccinated; this is another reason that relying solely on vaccinations will not make sense. Children as young as 5 can be vaccinated in the US and as young as 2 can be vaccinated in Cuba.
We are concerned about who the government allows to advise them on adjustments to measures to manage the pandemic. Corporate interests, specifically pressure from Delta Air Lines, got the US government to change their rules to now only require some persons to be in isolation for 5 days; this backfired in the US as a lot of workers were forced to show up for work even while they were still ill. Shortly after Adam Stewart posted something on social media that downplayed the danger of asymptomatic cases, the government scrapped testing requirements for persons who want to leave isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 as long as they were asymptomatic; it also decided to treat mildly symptomatic persons the same as asymptomatic ones; this is dangerous because someone can still transmit the virus to someone else while being asymptomatic, and it can affect that other person intensely.
The US has not managed the health crisis well; they are the last country that we should look to as an example of how to manage it here, especially considering that we have far less resources and capabilities than they do.
We are aware that the world is moving to consider COVID-19 “endemic” and give up on eradicating it like it had done with other illnesses, but this is largely due to laziness and irresponsibility; many people are currently dying or ending up with long-term health complications as a result.
Jonathan Wilson – Member of the LANDS Communication Committee
 
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Mckoy’s News and solely by the views of the Writer.

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