News5th COVID Wave May Be Over but PAHO Calls for Caution

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 202213525 min

As the world observes the second anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caribbean citizens are being warned it may be too early to drop the region’s COVID guard, especially as vaccination levels are nowhere near satisfactory.

The Ministry of Health & Wellness approached the anniversary last week declaring that the island’s 5th COVID Wave “has been resolved” and urging a gradual return to “normalcy”.

In a statement, the Ministry said that as of March 6, 2022, the daily infection rate over the last seven days had dropped by 27%.
According to the Health officials, “the past week, we continue to register low numbers of cases and we are presently at the baseline point in the epidemiological curve. The public health indicators are within normal range. The 5th wave has been resolved.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar George and National Epidemiologist Dr. Michelle Francois both made positive references to the lowering negative rates, while also encouraging citizens to observe protocols and to get vaccinated.

The CMO said the ministry was “working with various sectors to reduce restrictive protocols without increasing health risks.”

She said, “COVID-19 has led to severe loss of productivity, and moving forward we propose keeping our sectors open as we enforce the measures we know that can work.”

Dr. Belmar George asked for “the full cooperation of the public and personal responsibility, as together we return to normalcy in a safe way.”

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and Health Minister Moses Jn Baptiste have also been urging citizens not to take false comfort in reduced numbers.
Jn Baptiste told the press on February 28, “We see a reduction in the numbers, but I continue to be very concerned about COVID-19. What is important is that we need to find ways of living and working with it…”
However, the Latin American and Caribbean region’s leading public health official is warning the entire region that it’s just “too soon to drop our guard.”

With public health measures being eased or lifted in many parts of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Carissa F. Etienne, has warned countries that it may be too soon to take such actions.

“When places relax measures at the wrong moment, transmission spikes dangerously and we lose more lives,” Dr. Etienne said in her recent weekly briefing.

The PAHO Director is also urging countries to base decisions on risk assessments and health data — and to tighten public health guidance if cases go up.

“COVID-19 is likely to be here to stay. We must learn to live with this virus, and quickly adapt to new changes,” Dr. Etienne added.

Reflecting on the past two years of the pandemic, she said the Americas has been hit harder than any other region in the world, with more than 2.6 million lives lost – half of the global deaths.


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