Has science been replaced by economics?


It’s a question on many minds following the announcement this week that the Gros Islet Street Party will return at the end of next month, just after the Department of Health urged citizens not to take too much consolation over the drop numbers and continue to observe existing mass crowds, social distancing and mass wearing of COVID-19 protocols.

On March 14, the Ministry of Health welcomed statistical indicators indicating that the spread and impact of Covid-19 was declining: the daily infection rate had fallen to 4.7 per 100,000, and the rate of transmission was less than 1.0, down to 0.5, an indication that the spread of the virus is decreasing.

However, the ministry said it “continues to monitor the development of increasing cases of the highly transmissible subvariant of Omicron BA.2 in some countries.”

The ministry further advised Saint Lucians to continue to adhere to existing protocols as COVID-19 “continues to be a threat.”
Existing protocols aim to avoid large crowds and crowded areas and ensure safe physical distancing for face-to-face meetings and other activities.

Citizens are also advised to “ensure that protocols are maintained in minibuses…” (as well as in “workplaces and sectors, gyms, hardware stores, supermarkets and leisure facilities”).

Last week, the Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) all echoed the sentiments of Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr Clarissa Etienne that despite As the numbers drop, governments should not rush to lift protocols or invite complacency, but should instead encourage adherence to work protocols and more vaccination.

But on Tuesday March 15, Gros Islet MP Kenson Casimir, the Minister for Youth and Sports, publicly announced his support for a decision by organizers to resume the usually crowded street party on Friday April 29.

According to a news article online this week, Minister Casimir “met with several vendors who have been negatively impacted by the suspension of activity, to discuss the return of the event”. The Minister said after a meeting with vendors that he was “pleased to announce that we have collectively decided that the biggest street party in Saint Lucia is scheduled to return on Friday 29th April 2022”.

The return of the Gros Islet Street Party, touted as one of St. Lucia’s top tourist attractions and activities, is backed by national tourism authorities, who are also promoting a mass “bacchanal” carnival for locals. people vaccinated only in July.

The decision of the MP and the Gros Islet sellers and the plans of Vax-Mas go against the advice of the CMO, the Minister of Health, the Prime Minister and the director of the OPS.

So the question is the decision to bring back the Gros Islet Street Party and the Vax-Mas, a case of economics driving the country’s response to Covid-19, not to mention advice from medical experts? Should minibus drivers feel obligated to adhere to existing protocols, while others may ignore them for economic reasons?

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