• 24 Jun, 2024

Inconveniencing Lives with Convenient Facts

Inconveniencing Lives with Convenient Facts

Inconveniencing Lives with Convenient Facts

Mark Twain once said that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. The Prime Minister has mastered the use of all three. 

In a post this week on Facebook, the Prime Minister lashed out at the Opposition in defense of the new COVID-19 restrictions. It’s been just over a year since “two weeks to flatten the curve” and we’re right to back to square one. 

The government continues to blame the ‘indiscipline’ of the people as the reason for the rise in cases. Of course, hanging from music trucks and gyrating on one another for an election in Tobago does not fall under the category of indiscipline nor can it contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in any possible way.  

What exactly is considered indiscipline? Going to the cinema, working out at the gym, enjoying a day at the beach with your family and any other activity that involves being human. None of these activities, however, can cause the virus to spread if you’ve entered the country at a beach down South—but heaven forbid you enter through the airport.  

For the past year, we’ve been told that COVID-19 is the great equalizer. It affects us all and does not discriminate. Unless, of course, you’re the daughter of the Prime Minister or the deceased Energy Minster. In that case, you get to skip the line. If you’re a Trinidadian stuck in St. Vincent, you had to wait until a volcano erupted to return home. 

The Prime Minister has tested positive for COVID-19. Who was he with and where was he? We don’t know. The thousands of cases recorded thus far have, apparently, all stemmed from indiscipline. The Prime Minister, however, was just a helpless victim. COVID-19 may infect us equally but not everyone has to be equally accountable. 

In his rambling, he scolds the Opposition for bringing up the economic effects of lockdowns. This is no surprise. Why would anyone want to accept responsibility for the current state of our economy, especially the government? 

‘Do nothing’ politicians have to give the impression that they can “do something”. What can any government realistically do about a virus besides put on a pappyshow?  

Citizens are told that they must follow all protocols since they work in conjunction. Politicians put on a spectacular show every time they wear their masks in Parliament. But when the Attorney General performs karaoke, masks aren’t needed. Social distancing and small crowds are suddenly enough to prevent the spread. 

Two weeks ago, enjoying a sea bath by yourself was ‘following the guidelines’. This week, it’s a criminal offence. If the government were serious about stopping the spread of the virus—and if they actually believed their crap—how is someone bathing by themselves a risk to public health but not a packed grocery?  

The government cannot get people to comply with these regulations without coercion. Last year, cries of “stay home” went uncalled not because of stubbornness, but for the simple fact that people have lives. How can we stay home when we have to work, go to the grocery and make last-minute runs to the pharmacy? The only way was to restrict hours of work supermarkets and pharmacies. In some cases, people had to lose their jobs. People aren’t following guidelines because they want to. They’re following them because they have no choice.  

The Prime Minister thinks that an explosion of COVID-19 cases will harm the economy. Yet his situation is enough evidence to prove that it won’t. How can a 70 year old man with heart issues work so hard while being infected but the rest of us can’t? For months we’ve been told that the elderly and persons with underlying conditions are at greater risk of death. Has the Prime Minister found the cure? 

But the statistics on COVID-19 are just one of those pesky nuisances that politicians get to conveniently waive to support their narratives. Over 80% of COVID-19 deaths have resulted from comorbidities. This is irrelevant to a government that is more concerned with rattling off infection rates.  

As of April 22, there are just over 1,000 actives and 8 are in a serious or critical condition. We’ve had 9,216 cases and 157 deaths. The United States has had 32,611,096 cases and 583,445 deaths. Those who are startled by the number of deaths in the USA fail to realize that both Trinidad and the USA have a death rate of 1.7% percent. That’s even with states such as Florida who have, for the most part, ignored all guidelines recommended by the WHO. 

A major difference between the two countries, however, is that the United States has done over 433 million tests while Trinidad has done just over 123,000. What does this say? It says that more tests result in more cases but more cases certainly don’t result in more deaths—at least in proportion to the increase in cases. 

The Prime Minister is worried about the increase in hospital occupancy from 5% to 25%. What is worrisome about this? If the virus were running rampant, there’d be more patients than beds. Hospitals would not be able to accommodate patients for long periods of time.  

Last year, the step-down facility sham was exposed. For weeks, the government boasted of their healthcare that was supposedly better than international standards. But when so little testing is done, there are very few patients to admit and administer world-class health care. Did it really come as a surprise to anyone that once testing increased, citizens were suddenly told they had to self-quarantine? 

Citizens in Barbados were put through hell for over 30 days because the government had to make a grand pappyshow of their commitment to our safety. Those same citizens would have been told to pay for their own quarantine today— and seven days of quarantine would be more than sufficient.  

The least talked about area that’s been severely hit during this pandemic is education. Children in this country have been receiving a poor education long before the pandemic. One can only imagine how many students were unprepared for exams last year because their parents took a wait-and-see approach to exams. By the way, where is the list of Top 200 SEA students?   By 2025, any economic repercussions we experience from lockdowns will undoubtedly be blamed on the pandemic. The explanation would suffice for a large percentage of our population. After all, what does it say when TTNGL—a company that usually declares profits of over $100m—declares a profit of $5m and supporters of the government hail this as a sign of economic success? 

Jean-Claude Escalante

JC has an obsession with all things 20th Century Communism. He also enjoys reading the works of Thomas Sowell. Video games & pro wrestling keep him sane.