COVID-19 death rate ‘very high’
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Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Boyle
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Boyle

-DCMO says adhering to control measures is the best solution


PUSHING back against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a challenge for Guyana, and this is evidenced by the “very high” death rate of about six per cent, which has been recorded so far.

Guyana has recorded 284 positive cases of COVID-19 to date, and while 125 of those persons have successfully battled the disease, 16 persons have lost that battle and by extension, their lives. The current death rate is much higher than the average death rate, outlined by World Health Organisation (WHO), which is 2-4 per cent.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO), Dr. Karen Boyle said the current situation is worrying because Guyana, unlike other countries, has a “very high” death rate, a rate which is especially high for a country which has a population of less than one million persons.

“So, I launch an appeal yet again to the young in our population, especially our 20-29-year olds, who have been openly disregarding the regulations to reflect on their behavior and ponder on the way this lifestyle is contributing to the COVID-19 situation in our country,” said Dr. Boyle during a virtual COVID-19 update, on Wednesday.
In Guyana, the coronavirus disease is not exclusive to the elderly, but as the statistics have shown, young males have been most vulnerable. Further, health authorities have discussed the potential damage that COVID-19 can cause.

“Are we so uncaring about our life that we have no regard for the future, for our offspring? I ask you to spare a thought to the potential you all possess and the waste of that precious gift that will result if you continue blatantly in this current vein. Remember all it demands is a little effort that is not costly on your part. Our health workers are resolutely doing their part, so why can’t you?” Dr. Boyle asked.

It is to that end, that she reminded persons, who have been adhering to the health guidelines, not to relax their efforts. Their adherence has helped the authorities to mitigate the spread of the disease. She commended their efforts and encouraged them to continue demonstrating civil responsibility.
“In our stores, we begin to see some patrons not wearing masks and flouting the physical distancing regulations. Even our cashiers are handling money and citizens’ purchases without constantly sanitizing. These are the measures that have helped us so far, but which we are neglecting to go through with. I implore you to do the right thing,” Dr. Boyle lamented.

The DCMO assured persons that all efforts have been executed not to harm Guyanese but to preserve their lives.
Health authorities were unable to provide updated statistics on Wednesday because the National Reference Laboratory was affected by a power outage, which was experienced across the country due to the inclement weather.

But, according to the existing statistics, Regions One, Four, Seven and Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) continue to have most of the cases.
Regions One and Seven, in particular, have seen a rapid increase in the number of cases being recorded. Last Thursday, this newspaper reported that COVID-19 claimed the life of Abdool Khan, a miner from Bartica, in Region Seven.

The spike of cases in Regions One and Seven have since seen authorities implementing a lockdown of those areas, with restrictions of travel in and out of the areas at reference.

“We have been pleading with all residents across our beloved country, particularly in Regions One, Four and Seven to act responsibly and comply with the guidelines. Friends, if the number of positive cases and deaths are not evidence enough of the presence and effects of COVID-19, then we are in a very terrible position in our response to this disease,” Dr. Boyle lamented.

Health authorities had found that a large number of positive cases in these regions have no signs and symptoms, so they are what is known as asymptomatic. This means that these persons can transmit the disease, and the infected persons will not even know that they are sick, because there is no sign
Medical teams were dispatched to Aranka and surrounding mining areas in Region Seven, as well as Moruca in Region One, to conduct mass testing to tackle the sudden spike of COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Boyle also spoke of the irresponsible actions by citizens in Region Nine whose intent was to transport Brazilians to Georgetown, ignorant of their COVID-19 status and cognisant that the COVID-19 situation in Brazil is out of control. Brazil has 1.63 m confirmed cases and 65,631 deaths.

The continuous rise in the amount of cases has seen local authorities creating a special emergency unit to enforce the control measures, and curtail the spread of the disease. Authorities believe that the rise is primarily because sections of the population continue to flout the existing measures, which include a national curfew.
The measures instituted by the Ministry of Public Health are consistent with the management of highly contagious diseases. The health system is already overburdened with responding to this current situation, and if this becomes worse, authorities will not be able to manage, and what is happening in next door Brazil will become a reality.

COVID-19 remains a serious issue not just here in Guyana, but globally as well, and, according to global statistics, there are 11.3 million cases of COVID-19, with over 532,000 deaths. And, with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease. In the absence of approved medications, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventive measures to contain the spread of the disease.

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