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MEDICAL MUSINGS BY DR. GEORGE ROBERTS

 

 

 

                                                       THE CORONA CONUNDRUM

 

With each passing day my prediction of COVID-19 meeting its partial Waterloo in Antigua seems more justified. The authorities are wisely maintaining restrictions, but so far the feared surge has not occurred, and with continued judicious management hopefully will not. Even in the best case scenario, though, we still will have illness and possibly fatalities.

 

This may end up reinforcing a recurring principle. Antigua is not a borough of New York City nor a city in Northern Italy. So though we need to look and learn from the experiences of others, we also need to adopt policies and make decisions which are truly appropriate to our reality and avoid the approach that what’s applicable elsewhere is right for us.

 

I think that the local authorities, in a completely unprecedented crisis, did their best in the face of considerable constraints. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, and it is easy for those who do not have the responsibility of balancing the options of death by disease or starvation to criticize. Even though I may have done some things differently, I have no major problem with the course taken so far. And I would like to suggest that those who take pleasure in making sometimes unjust and nitpicking criticisms of our local (and no, it’s not a bad word!) institutions such as health, education and culture should take a glance at the current woes of some of the clay footed statues abroad. Despite our challenges due to small size in a predatory environment, lack of resources, human and material, and unfortunately sometimes lack of belief in ourselves, we still are doing better than many. But yes, there’s always considerable room for improvement.

 

Even though we may escape a surge, we will not be out of the medical woods. We will likely have a mostly unexposed and COVID susceptible population in a country which traditionally makes most of its money from tourism originating in some badly affected areas. The spectre of a surge on reopening borders, especially during carnival if it comes off, and our ‘cold season’ at the turn of the year is very real. If an accessible and reliable vaccine does not become available, the way forward will be a real mental pretzel for our decision makers.

 

But even more important, in my opinion, will be how to deal with the effects on the economy. COVID has changed the world. Our economic staple, tourism, will not be the same again. Modification of the product, diversification to improve self reliance, especially in food production, and exploitation of the potentially leveling influence of the internet will be among the factors that. will need to be considered. Closer cooperation and eventual unification with our Caribbean neighbors will be mandatory for our eventual survival. But that’s way out of my area of expertise.

 

I anticipate that there will soon be further relaxation of curfew restrictions. Strict personal hygiene and physical distancing measures, I think, continue to be essential to maintain our surge-free status. In two areas, however, I will give an opinion.

 

We need to maintain strict control of our borders, as there is where the majority of our severe cases seem to be originating. This will of necessity include the hard to monitor boating sector, where many come from hard hit COVID areas. Tough option for a tourist economy, but if we have rampant COVID they won’t come anyway!

 

I think we should free up the beaches for individuals and small groups. I think that the open air, sunlight, and exercise are beneficial to virus control and general mental and physical health. On the flip side, large indoor gatherings, especially where there is loud speaking or singing, continue to be a problem. Churches, nightclubs, bars????

 

I’ve said enough for now. Please obey the curfew rules, maintain physical but not social distancing, and stay safe!

 

[17/04, 07:59] Mosse Roberts: No one knows anything for sure in this fight. Totally uncha[17/04, 07:13] Mosse Roberts: Medical Musings by Dr. George Roberts

 

 

THE CORONA CONUNDRUM

 

With each passing day my prediction of COVID-19 meeting its partial Waterloo in Antigua seems more justified. The authorities are wisely maintaining restrictions, but so far the feared surge has not occurred, and with continued judicious management hopefully will not. Even in the best case scenario, though, we still will have illness and possibly fatalities.

 

This may end up reinforcing a recurring principle. Antigua is not a borough of New York City nor a city in Northern Italy. So though we need to look and learn from the experiences of others, we also need to adopt policies and make decisions which are truly appropriate to our reality and avoid the approach that what’s applicable elsewhere is right for us.

 

I think that the local authorities, in a completely unprecedented crisis, did their best in the face of considerable constraints. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, and it is easy for those who do not have the responsibility of balancing the options of death by disease or starvation to criticize. Even though I may have done some things differently, I have no major problem with the course taken so far. And I would like to suggest that those who take pleasure in making sometimes unjust and nitpicking criticisms of our local (and no, it’s not a bad word!) institutions such as health, education and culture should take a glance at the current woes of some of the clay footed statues abroad. Despite our challenges due to small size in a predatory environment, lack of resources, human and material, and unfortunately sometimes lack of belief in ourselves, we still are doing better than many. But yes, there’s always considerable room for improvement.

 

Even though we may escape a surge, we will not be out of the medical woods. We will likely have a mostly unexposed and COVID susceptible population in a country which traditionally makes most of its money from tourism originating in some badly affected areas. The spectre of a surge on reopening borders, especially during carnival if it comes off, and our ‘cold season’ at the turn of the year is very real. If an accessible and reliable vaccine does not become available, the way forward will be a real mental pretzel for our decision makers.

 

But even more important, in my opinion, will be how to deal with the effects on the economy. COVID has changed the world. Our economic staple, tourism, will not be the same again. Modification of the product, diversification to improve self reliance, especially in food production, and exploitation of the potentially leveling influence of the internet will be among the factors that. will need to be considered. Closer cooperation and eventual unification with our Caribbean neighbors will be mandatory for our eventual survival. But that’s way out of my area of expertise.

 

I anticipate that there will soon be further relaxation of curfew restrictions. Strict personal hygiene and physical distancing measures, I think, continue to be essential to maintain our surge-free status. In two areas, however, I will give an opinion.

 

We need to maintain strict control of our borders, as there is where the majority of our severe cases seem to be originating. This will of necessity include the hard to monitor boating sector, where many come from hard hit COVID areas. Tough option for a tourist economy, but if we have rampant COVID they won’t come anyway!

I think we should free up the beaches for individuals and small groups. I think that the open air, sunlight, and exercise are beneficial to virus control and general mental and physical health. On the flip side, large indoor gatherings, especially where there is loud speaking or singing, continue to be a problem. Churches, nightclubs, bars????

 

I’ve said enough for now. Please obey the curfew rules, maintain physical but not social distancing, and stay safe!

 

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