AS the scope and severity of the coronavirus are still being assessed, two months after it became known to the world, and the responses of governments which have the virus inside their borders become more and more questionable – the governments of China and Russia being two such examples, it is fitting that we turn our attention inward and examine whether our response to keeping our country safe from the deadly virus is good enough.
Without hesitation we applaud Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar – George and her team at the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their almost daily updates on the spread of the virus worldwide, what we should do to keep the virus at bay and the things they have done to persons suspected of having symptoms of the disease.
It is clear that Dr. Belmar – George and her team are encouraging responsibility throughout the country where the virus is concerned to avoid panic. This is a wise move indeed. Such a strategy must be encouraged.
We take this opportunity to encourage Saint Lucians to follow the directions given by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in ways to avoid getting and spreading a respiratory disease. It is important to remember that covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is a respiratory disease, as is influenza, and while there’s not a vaccine for it, there are tried-and-true ways to deal with this type of illness.
For instance, washing with soap and water after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing one’s nose and sneezing is advisable. Since there are no medical solution for the coronavirus, preventive steps and awareness are perhaps the best tools available at this time.
Perhaps the Ministry of Health and Wellness could also add to their message of adopting hygienic behaviours by talking about how best to deal with misinformation about the coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading, almost, if not faster, than the coronavirus itself. This rapid spread of misinformation about the coronavirus can be just as harmful as the disease, after all, we all know of the speed at which information could spread when it hits social media.
Therefore, it is with this in mind that we encourage Saint Lucians to stick to a trusted source when it comes to information about the virus, such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness for example which so far has been supplying information about the virus on a timely basis.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the virus seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then after a week, leads to shortness of breath with some patients being in need of hospital treatment.
The virus is fast-moving and although originated in China it has spread to more than 40 countries. It is a respiratory infection, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms. It has claimed about 3000 lives when this editorial was written and has been declared a global emergency by the WHO.