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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Trinidad: Doctor fears spike in COVID-19 cases following election

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(Trinidad Guardian) As the country hit 300 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, activities in the days leading up to the recent general elections are being described as a “disaster waiting to happen” by internal medicine specialist Dr Joel Teelucksingh who said those who failed to follow proper public health protocols could have created a “petri dish of infections.”

The Public Health Regulations limiting the number of people allowed to gather in public to 10 being active through in the days leading up to Monday’s General Election, however, the excitement surrounding the event led to an apparent disregard by some to it. This was especially evident on Monday night when supporters of both leading parties, the United National Congress (UNC) and People’s National Movement (PNM) culminated at the locations of both political leaders in anticipation of a victory.

“I think there is trouble brewing,” Dr Teelucksingh told Guardian Media in a Zoom interview yesterday.

Citing that a significant number of people have been known to carry the virus without displaying symptoms themselves, he said there is a possibility they were a part of the crowds.

“They may have been mixing with crowds, not practising social distancing, the absence of masks being worn properly (they) could have created the perfects, perhaps a petri dish, of infections. Perhaps in the next few weeks, it would be interesting to see with this ramped up testing whether or not we would see an influx of cases. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, its trouble brewing—especially when you have persons in close proximity not adhering to those COVID-19 protocols,” he said.

But Dr Teelucksingh is hoping that images of people disregarding the safety protocols at various events as seen on television and in the newspapers were rare occurrences.

“I’m hoping that the majority of persons would have adhered to those pearls of wisdom of not just medical authorities but those at most of the parties (events who) would have been reminding us about the value of social distancing, hygiene and masks. I’m hoping we don’t see such a big surge,” he said.

Although no official invitation was sent out by UNC and PNM candidates for supporters to come to celebrate any victories, die-hards still showed up at the various camps. However, at most of these camps, supporters were cautioned to adhere to guidelines such as social distancing and wearing of masks. If we begin to see a surge in infections, he suggests a reintroduction of some form of lockdown measures be introduced to avoid overburdening the healthcare system.

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