Jet Planes

Saw three planes flying during the day. It was more exciting than I expected. They were all private jets, making their way down to the airport.

I found out later that Barbados is chairing the latest Caricom meeting – the inter-governmental Caribbean group which unifies these islands. Maybe the heads of states were flying in? These smart little jets aren’t designed for tourists.

The Caribbean nations are in a similar situation. Most, if not all islands are seeing Covid-19 cases. Some have more cases than others. Some islands are definitely testing more people than others. All borders are still firmly closed. I wouldn’t be surprised if borders stay shut until September, but I’m willing to eat my words. Yummy words. 

We were getting excited last week. There’s been a recent period of six days where no cases were recorded in Barbados. This was the reasoning: if Barbados can get to two full weeks of no new cases, then the possibility of relaxing curfew becomes likely.

Except, over the weekend, a slew of new positive test results were confirmed. We received news that a whole government department: the National Assistance Board, which looks after the vulnerable and elderly in Barbados, was placed under quarantine. Two-hundred people. We winced. The word was that the quarantined people were the administrative branch – not the actual care workers working directly in the community. Still, two-hundred people. Testing began for everyone. 

At the beginning of this pandemic – when big planes still flew and you didn’t have to present your passport to security at a supermarket, Barbados appointed its Covid-19 Czar. His name is Richard Carter. Richard Carter has significant experience with the Ebola virus in west Africa. That’s what I read.

Personally, I’ve found his presence reassuring. He makes regular statements in the press which come across as measured and logical. No community transmission, he’s maintained. Indeed, each positive case until now has been a result of having known contact with an infected person who’ve recently returned from another country. We know it because they tell it to us. Gulp.

Then, after the two-hundred NAB staff were quarantined this weekend, waiting on their test results, Richard Carter gave another statement. This one was different. He said he was concerned – about the asymptomatic patient. The person with coronavirus who had no idea they had it. We winced again. 

A person can be tested for existing antibodies. If the test comes back negative however, it seems someone who is Covid-19 antibody-free can catch the virus five hours, five minutes or five seconds later. And if there are people walking around who have the virus with no idea they have it: how do you fight that? I know, ultimately with vaccines. With herd immunity. With luck. But you cant avoid community transmission right now with asymptomatic presence – unless we stay locked down.

This virus is a damn bully. At sunset, deep and peaceful, we watched the planes take off. They disappeared into the sky.

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