By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
The Bahamas, like the rest of the world, should realise by now that COVID-19 and its effects are going to be around for some time and as such we should be finding a way to live with it.
As we come out of yet another weekend lockdown designed to curtail the virus, citizens across the country continue to wonder if these lockdowns are really effective. The answer, according to many health experts - local and international - is lockdowns by themselves are not the answer without mass and continued testing alongside beefed-up contact tracing.
In the first months of the pandemic many countries ability to throw the switch on large scale testing - including our own - was hampered by the lack of testing kits available globally - and the money to buy them.
Suddenly every government wanted the same thing.
Former Health Minister Duane Sands told a local radio station last week: “We were trying to increase testing at time when it was incredibly difficult to get the resources needs, swabs, test kids, etc.
“We were pulling out all the stops to be able to continue the ability to test.”
Journalists covering the initially regular Ministry of Health press conferences frequently questioned officials on the scale of testing and why it wasn’t more widescale.
Two issues were at play. Firstly, getting control on the numbers within the local population and secondly - and crucially from an economic perspective - finding some way to check whether tourists coming into the country were carrying the virus. Read more >>