ON March 14, Prime Minister Andrew Holness imposed a travel restriction on the United Kingdom. At the same time, UK Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) was pushing a herd immunity strategy for his country. Subsequently, Jamaica has witnessed a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases resulting from the Alorica cluster. Why the cluster emerged? The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector was allowed to operate as normal conditions existed. While corporate Jamaica firms enacted work from home policies, it was revealed that some BPOs did not practice social distancing and was all about the income over life. This resulted in a lockdown of St. Catherine with the Government claiming success of the measure. While St. Catherine is free to roam, St. Mary is now witnessing an increase in positive cases.
COMMUNICATIONS AND COVID-19 – The Jamaican Response
The beginning of the outbreak saw the Holness Government attempting to navigate the flow of information. It is now an established thought many countries around the world are not reporting the true numbers behind Covid-19. Some deaths especially those who die at home may not be added to the national numbers as they were never admitted to a hospital. There are many factors why the reported numbers as it relates to death and positive cases, could in fact be higher.
While the Holness administration may consider withholding the true state of positive cases Covid-19 in Jamaica, this could easily backfire if Jamaicans turn to social media with an opposing view. To say, they have not been tested waiting on a result. Days ago, Jamaica was disturbed with Jodian Fearon’s treatment in our nation’s healthcare system; it was revealed that some Jamaicans waited a week to receive their results. In addition, the Government may want to restrict the flow of information; however, it must balance that decision with the need to know a result of a sample provided.
Is Jamaica Pursuing Herd Immunity?
What is herd immunity? In short, the term describes a condition in which most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, thus conveying indirect protection to those who are not immune. This indirect protection is called herd immunity, also sometimes referred to as herd protection.
Andrew Holness must be the most stressed Jamaican leader at this moment. One must empathize with Jamaica’s own response to this pandemic. Jamaica’s economic state will never be ready for a flu or a shock, and Covid-19 has jolted our nation. Holness has led in a partisan manner when it could impact his own polling numbers favorably if he pivots to the Jamaican people, that we really are all in this together. These are unprecedented moments in history. We will all tell our children about the months we could not go to the beach or earn a salary. This generation has never experienced a global shutdown, pandemic or anything of this nature.
There is great political value in the Administration doing all it can, to unite Jamaicans at this time. And it starts in Parliament. Andrew Holness should stop listening to the tribal voices on his team and invite the best minds from both sides of the political aisle and apolitical voices to lead a new future for Jamaica.
Some Jamaicans believe, the Holness administration is pushing a herd immunity strategy. One only needs to review the tweets and statements out of Government to conclude a sudden shift in strategy. Is the Holness administration allowing the contagious virus to spread to millions of Jamaicans? If this is pursued, many will die and the health care sector could fall on its knees.
While Sweden has a unique approach to managing the pandemic, they have seen 2,769 deaths and 22,721 of positive cases.
While Jamaica continues to lead its people through this dark moment in our history. We hope lives will be saved and Jamaica’s leaders will give of their best. The month of May will be rather interesting for Jamaica. Will we continue to see the continuous rise in Covid-19 positive cases or will the Government enact measures to flatten the curve? The Prime Minister, has put together a team to navigate the future and the outcome of that process will guide how Jamaica reopens the economy.