Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs Minister Moses Jn Baptiste appears to be at his wits’ end to understand the position of some individuals here regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing a meeting Thursday of the National COVID-19 Command Centre, the Vieux Fort North MP asserted that perhaps the most unmeasurable impact of the virus is its effect on human behaviour.
“As a community activist who has spent many decades working with people in my constituency and around the country, I admit that COVID has forced me to reevaluate my understanding of human behaviour. The pandemic has made what used to be predictable, unpredictable,” Jn Baptiste explained.
In this regard, he noted that the decision on whether to take a COVID-19 vaccine had created bad blood among family and friends.
However, he recalled that adults had heard warnings that risky behavior could cause severe illness or death.
“Diabetics know that they must stay off sugar and those with high blood pressure know they must not take salt or take salt very moderately. By and large these warnings worked. Our people in large measure have followed the science,” the Minister stated. But he lamented that COVID-19 had caused a change.
Jn Baptiste revealed that he had seen the unforgettable ‘compelling testimony’ and vivid scenes from COVID-19 patients and frontline personnel in New York, the United Kingdom, and Saint Lucia, along with overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes.
He said he believes the people of this country are well aware of this.
“And so it boggles my mind that there are so many who say that COVID does not exist,” he declared.
“Or that the protocols that had kept so many of us safe before vaccines became available are not necessary and are useless, and they’re just infringing on our rights. All governments are required to act to protect lives first and foremost and livelihoods. Doing nothing is not an option,” Jn Baptiste expressed.
As a result, the Minister observed that success in defeating COVID-19 depends on everyone’s behaviour.
“I urge our public officers and all Saint Lucians to play their part in the battle against COVID-19 by taking the vaccine and rigidly following all protocols,” he stated.
For his part, the Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Management Centre (CMC), Cletus Springer, said he does not doubt that some local responses to the pandemic are influenced by what is taking place in the United States.
Springer observed that in the US, the forces of misinformation and disinformation join in a fierce battle with fact and science.
However, he pointed out that Saint Lucia is not the United States and presented statistics to highlight the vast resources available to the US to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including more financial help, more intensive care beds, and millions of nurses.
According to the CMC Chairman, that reality should frame local debates on the rights and wrongs of COVID policy.
“This is the reality that should shape how we go about our daily lives living with a highly infectious virus raging among us,” Springer declared.