by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Should the region expect another wave of COVID-19 to spread in the Caribbean?
“The Caribbean reported a 15.4 percent increase in new infections with cases rising in 24 of the 34 countries and territories and deaths in the Caribbean increase for the third consecutive week by 39.6 percent as compared to the previous week,” said Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) during the recent COVID-19 briefing.
While health officials locally and regionally have not confirmed that a fifth wave is imminent. They have asked the public to consider the trends of the spread of the virus in the past and continued to remind people that the pandemic is not over.
“COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are rising in far too many places, which should prompt us to strengthen our measures to combat the virus, including surveillance and preparedness.”
When analysing the dashboard on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, there is a slight uptick in the daily case count as of May 4.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) dashboard shows no significant increase in the recorded cases or deaths.
Surveillance has been one of the necessary tools being pushed by the global medical authorities, and new estimates from the WHO show that the full death toll associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, directly or indirectly, for the last two years was approximately 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million).
“Good data on what is happening can help each country plan preventive measures, communicate effectively with the public, adjust preventive measures and reinforce hospital capacity if needed.”
Dr Etienne said vaccination remains the best resource to save lives, especially when cases rise and especially for those most vulnerable.
The PAHO Director also highlighted a new measure being utilised to help understand and report other effects of COVID-19.
” It is true that the pandemic has challenged the mental well being of all of us, not just the health professions. On this topic, therefore, I want to mention that PAHO is launching a High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 on Friday, May 6. This commission will bring together leaders and thought partners to take a closer look at the impact of the pandemic on mental health in the Americas. We have also included persons who suffer from mental health. It will guide PAHO and its member states to strengthen our efforts to meet mental health needs across our region,” Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
In St. Kitts and Nevis, while there has been a slight increase in cases, 17 as of May 7, Senior health official Dr Cameron Wilkinson on Friday morning (May 6) confirmed that most of the cases were identified due to travel-related testing.
The vaccination numbers stand at 78.2 percent of adults fully vaccinated, and 17.9 percent of children aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated.