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As the old saying goes: What missed us, has not passed us. There are many should haves that can be said at this point—and possibly not without merit—regarding the alarming spike in positive cases of Covid-19 in T&T and the consequent deaths.

The government should have closed the beaches and rivers earlier. The government should have announced that this was community transmission at least three weeks ago. The government should have postponed elections. The government, any government, should recognise the mindset of a populace whose behaviour is more aligned to rule breaking than adherence; and as such appeals to responsible behaviour were bound to have limited success: therefore partial lockdown measures should have been reimposed weeks ago.

The Opposition should have been more responsible in its utterances regarding measures for the prevention of Covid-19: sunlight puncheon etc. The Opposition should have partnered with the government in helping to promote measures to stem the spread of the virus and save lives. Finally the people should have been more responsible and engaged in life saving critical thinking that could save their lives and the lives of others.

As we face a notable spike in cases we can continue to engage in an energy depleting debate on what should have perhaps been done to avoid reaching the current scenario, but the main concern now is an upwards bulge in the proverbial curve—700 new cases in a month’s time—and with this, the possibility of our health services becoming overwhelmed. History would judge all our leaders accordingly, on both sides of the political fence, the experts in the health sector; as well as the character of a people not as inclined to rational thought as to emotive impulses; as witnessed in both the pre and post election period.

There is indeed a need to vigorously examine what brought us to this point but now is not the time. The battle is joined. A soldier rushing into battle does not stop to ponder or debate what errant actions or policy mishaps brought him to the battlefield; he is now engaged in a battle for his life and for the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Our precious and limited energy must now be used in together engaging this enemy—Covid-19—in the most responsible way. The front line workers are now indeed all front line workers and what many in the health sector had hoped would have passed us by, has now met us head on, hopefully our mask on. We must garner our collective energy and recognise the common enemy. In the words of Star Trek’s Spock: ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ They in fact always have, whether we realise it or not.

Many seem to take comfort and adopt a false sense of security when it is announced that a Covid-19 death is associated with underlying health conditions. A human being has died. Where is our compassion for the family who mourns?

Even if we were not before—and we weren’t— let’s all be responsible now.

Michael Jattan, Diego Martin