NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said consultant physicians are watching with “bated breath” the potential impact of the COVID-19 variant that was found in the United Kingdom and has since spread to the United States.
“Anytime we see trends happening in other countries, particularly places that we either visit or we have guests coming from, we have to be very knowledgeable of and pay attention because we know, unfortunately, in a lot of instances we potentially can be impacted,” she told Eyewitness News.
“So, I think any things related to that, we really have to continue to be vigilant and advise persons to practice the safety measures that we have been talking about for the majority of 2020, and to continue those measures in 2021 to make sure we safeguard ourselves as best as possible.”
Pinder-Butler cautioned against social events at authorized venues and even at home, noting that the true extent of the holidays and the eased restrictions will not be fully evident until the weeks ahead.
This week, Colorado and California announced the first and second case respectively of a more contagious COVID-19 variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom, bringing about tougher restrictions on millions of people.
A host of nations have banned flights from Britain, while France temporarily barred the entry of trucks from Britain while the strain was assessed.
Pinder-Butler pointed out it is possible that The Bahamas has had alternative strains or could already have the more contagious variant, requiring citizens and residents “not to let their guard down”.
The union president said while there are many who experience mild to moderate systems, the risk of death for some should be sufficient impetus for compliance to all health guidelines for the foreseeable future.
“I think a lot of us perhaps have been letting our guard down, especially if you consider the holiday season, the different things going on,” Pinder-Butler said.
“But we have to be mindful that we don’t relax things too much.
“It certainly would not be to our benefit.”
She added that the association is “watchful” as to how the variant could potentially impact The Bahamas, on the heels of what could be an uptick as a result of holiday activities — the latter of which may not be seen in the data for weeks to come.
She said the next few weeks will be telling.
In the last several weeks, new cases per day have increased from the low single-digits to the low double-digits — an observation Pinder-Butler made.
“That is really what we’re watching for right now with bated breath,” she said.
“We’re hoping for the best and bracing ourselves for whatever it is we may or may not have to deal with.
“We still care for persons with chronic medical conditions and we know that a lot of persons may have had rough years, and so they are impacted mentally and so on.
“We’re seeing an increase in traffic accidents in recent weeks and that is also concerning.
“All of those things impact us as healthcare providers in general because we are still responsible for the health of the nation.
“And so, we want to encourage everyone to be safe…”