Trinidad and Tobago has once again found itself in crisis mode dealing with another major spike in COVID-19 cases.
Between last week Monday and yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced 536 new cases, with a whopping 134 cases being announced yesterday alone.
Sadly, seven people also died this week and several others now in intensive care.
The spike that health officials warned would happen if we did not exercise the necessary precautions has come.
Two weeks ago, with borders still closed, thousands travelled to Tobago for the long Easter weekend and somehow many seemed to have forgotten that congregating in large numbers, not wearing masks, and hosting parties, would create the exact climate necessary for the virus to spread.
Abandoning caution, today, the chickens have come home to roost.
From April 2, Good Friday to now, the cases have increased by 824.
But the truth is, the problem began long before that. As seen before, complacency set in when things began to get better.
As the Ministry of Health announced fewer and fewer cases of the virus, private parties, beach limes and other gatherings not permitted under the health regulations became more and more regular.
Others sought to exploit loopholes of gatherings on private property for private events that far exceeded the permissible public limits.
So what now? Where do we go from here?
The government has moved to reverse measures that had initially been relaxed—for a three-week period, in-house dining has been stopped and beaches have been closed.
With only 16,462 vaccines administered so far, T&T is not in a position to win this battle by continuing the way were have over the last few months.
We are hurting no one but ourselves by our continued irresponsible behaviours and lack of discipline.
While pandemic fatigue is something that bears heavy on all of us, we cannot escape the virus without confronting it with a steadfast will to do the right things all the time without fail. Dropping your guard just once can be a death sentence for you or a relative.
In this light, let’s revisit the call by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on March 29, 2020, when he declared war on this invisible enemy.
“The war that we’re fighting now is an invisible enemy, a micro-pathogen that you will not see with the naked eye but we know it’s there. Today, every single one of us has to be a soldier because the enemy can come from any one of us. So we have to be extra careful. The most wide-ranging law in this war is the law of common sense. And as we engage, we advise, we request, we suggest, we instruct and we enforce, we expect that all along this journey, common sense will prevail.”
Today this message is just as fresh as when it was given.
The price of freedom from this virus is eternal vigilance.