Antigua’s COVID Crisis: Medical Musings by Dr. George Roberts

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Whereas I do not always completely agree with the strategies and approaches of the authorities in handling the Covid crisis in Antigua, I have deliberately avoided criticizing their actions or actively promoting differing positions.

This is for a number of reasons. In times like these where there is an unprecedented world crisis with no clear cut answers to potentially lethal and multifaceted problems, no one can honestly be sure of having the right solution.

So with the relevant departments staffed with competent and qualified professionals, armed with more comprehensive and nuanced information than I have, I will usually automatically defer to their decisions.

But on the subject of a lockdown in the face of the current surge in COVID cases I feel compelled to propose a different view. The number of infected individuals is rising rapidly, and the Mount St. John’s Hospital Medical Director himself has declared that the medical services are under severe strain as a result.

The present curfew and other restrictions have not seemed able to control the steady rise.

Additionally, we can reasonably project that there are a number of infected cases in the community who are passing on this very contagious disease and will in some cases become critical or even die. Some caregivers will get infected as well. The upshot of this will be less reserve capability of the medical services to handle not just COVID but routine cases as well.

The much touted vaccines will be helpful and a game changer. But they prevent disease, not treat it. So while they are being obtained and given, the virus will be continuing its metastatic march through the core of our community.

As I see more and more people that I have known sicken and hover at death’s door, I have a sense of the awesome and awful responsibility on the shoulders of our leaders. Our tourism based economy has taken an almighty wallop.

I can understand the desire to keep our communities open no matter what. But with the spread and threat of the virus now, business activity is declining day by day anyway. The travails and suffering associated with a robust lockdown to my mind do not compare with the specter of an overwhelmed health system in an economic slump with large numbers of critical patients and less severe cases who may perish due to insufficient material or human resources.

We have seen what has happened in Britain, the U.S.A. and nearby St. Lucia, where there has been some inertia in adopting strict control measures. From my perspective, the right decision is obvious. We need to lock down immediately to give our health services a chance to maintain control, while concurrently expediting the acquisition and distribution of the vaccine.

Hopefully then once the infection rates are stabilized, we can relax the restrictions and gradually return to a more normal existence.

I really hope that the authorities reconsider their stance and move toward a stricter public distancing policy. If they don’t, I hope my fears are dead wrong.
Otherwise many of us may be dead. Right?

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19 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with what Doc Roberts said but i do not believe we can achieve success without a massive testing program in the affected areas to root out the people who are spreading covid in there community, we have a lockdown now but if you shut people in more it does not get to the root of the problem

    • But even without it a real lockdown will work.

      First close all borders for at least 2 weeks to turn off the spigot of infected people coming into the country.

      Second everyone except the most essential workers stays home.

      Ramp up food deliveries by supermarkets and restaurants and free food delivered to the poor and unemployed.

      If you do these things for at least 2 weeks, preferably a month, the vast majority of people who are infectious right now will not be in 2 weeks.

      Just like this infection spreads exponentially it will decline exponentially if you cut off routes of spread.

      After 1 month of closed borders, strict lockdown the number of cases should be approaching 0.

      And then you get a reset and can reopen but sensibly this time.

      And hopefully many people will have started get vaccines within that time period.

  2. Lockdown immediately and close borders IMMEDIATELY for 1 month.

    That will give time for vaccine distribution to start.

    And when the borders are reopened, for God’s sake implement reasonable protocols that apply to EVERYONE who enters – testing and quarantining for all who enter unless that person is verifiably vaccinated.

    • So the protocols should require EVERYONE, EVERYONE, EVERYONE to be:

      1. Tested on arrival

      2. Quarantined for at least a few days (until a 2nd negative confirmatory test)

      There needn’t be 10 pages of confusing protocols. Just 2 simple rules that apply to EVERYONE.

      No more BS about tourists don’t spread disease only returning nationals do.

      Get serious about this. Please!!!!

  3. Please contact Dr. Paul Marik or Dr. Pierre Kory and talk to them about their inexpensive protocol that saves lives. These are well respected doctors in their fields who have come together to develop an early treatment protocol and a prophylactic protocol that has been very effective in combating COVID.

    It’s literally a life or death situation, so it’s worth it to send one email and talk to these people. Thanks!

    https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FLCCC-Alliance-I-MASKplus-Protocol-ENGLISH.pdf

    PHONE
    513-486-4696

    EMAIL
    [email protected]

  4. Absolutely right, doc. Well said and thank you. It is said that a word to the wise is sufficient. Gaston?

  5. I hope Dr. George Roberts will not be accused of playing partisan politics for his comments by the Prime Minister or Tenman Hughes.

  6. Please we are begging the government listen to the people of this country close down the country before its to late.

  7. @Charles Tabor… Let’s wait for it. As soon as people talk their minds and stand up for their rights they are playing partisan politics. I am red by the way…me nah like wah a gwarn tarl, tarl, tarl. Come better than than man Hon. P.M.

  8. I agree with Dr Roberts 100%, however we are missing the point here, these are no longer imported cases! We need to call a spade a spade and stop avoiding the words “Community Spread!” That’s what we are facing.

    Drive up market street Friday-Saturday between The Hon V.C. Bird’s bust and South Street unmasked persons are laughing, chatting, drinking shoulder to shoulder. Then even in the height of the present scare on Saturday I passed on Friars Hill Rd., right at the junction to turn into Cedar Valley and there were cars parked and the same picture, or on Queen Elizabeth Highway-side-a-de-road fete. Am I the only person who sees these things happening?
    But we really don’t care until it hits home, or near enough home.

    We are expecting the Prime Minister, Government, Medical Fraternity to perform miracles, to pull rabbits out of a hat to keep us safe while we refuse to be responsible for our behavior, health and safety!
    Come on! Let us bemoan and criticize less and rise up and do our part individually and collectively! We started a good race, let us complete it safely.

    • @Aninymous – ABSOLUTELY CORRECT Doc.
      ‘ each endeavouring, all achieving’ in pandemic times means each of us MUST become adults! Wear your mask correctly whenever in public, distance 6′ from others whenever in public, sanitize your hands after every transaction and …. only carry out essential business (shopping, medical, bill paying, car & house fixing, agriculture, work, outdoor exercise) NOT LIMIN’ WITH OTHERS!
      Please, consider the other 99% of the population when you’re tempted to lime and DON’T DO IT!

      SEPARATELY, please consider the benefits of getting vaccinated for you, & from you to your family & friends & community.
      It’s currently the only way through this pandemic for every country in the world.

      (Non-partisan commentator)

    • Yes, there is community spread as there has been for months and months. And yet government officials are still lying saying there isn’t.

      The reason the people haven’t taken the pandemic seriously is because the government has yet to do so.

      For months, the MOH trotted himself out to repeatedly declare the island COVID free and free of community spread.

      Last spring there was a cluster of sudden deaths (most likely due to COVID) which the government failed to investigate or simply lied about the cause of death.

      Had they told the truth – this disease is deadly and it’s in the community spreading – locals would have taken things more seriously.

      There was no strong public health message from the government

      And finally, as long as you keep importing disease carrying tourists, they will keep infecting Antiguans. This source of disease never stopped.

      You have to address the problem of letting disease in at the border AND the community spread if you want to solve this problem.

      Please stop being fooled by the absurd idea that letting in thousands of people from Covid-19 hotspots is safe and okay. Never was. Never will be.

  9. Why is it the Gaston Browne Administration cannot closed the Borders for 2 weeks.Is that too much to ask. Isn’t there enough cash to support the Country for 2 weeks? All of those monies you loud mouthed guys(Politicians) bragged about having in your coffers. Begin to spend it to keep your population safe.The Hotels could survive for 2 weeks.The Tourists do not have to come into Antigua for 2 weeks.
    Tabor: Where are your brothers.TENMAN HUGHES,SIDELINES AND THE OTHER SYCOPHANTS.

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