Good Day everyone,
Judging from the many telephone calls received, I am aware that many persons are gravely concerned about the future of the Cayman Islands as we battle the pandemic so, I hope the following will be helpful:
Globalization and technological progress have turned our world into a global village. Never before have we been so interdependent.
With the following metaphor, Mahbubani from Singapore summed it up brilliantly when he said:
"We are all stuck together on a virus-infected cruise ship called "Planet Earth" and if by some good fortune our cabin is virus-free but the corridors, air wells and other cabins outside are not, the only way to keep the virus out of our cabin is to lock off the supply vents to our cabin. Thank God, the previous Government did that to protect us, KUDOS to them.
At some point, however, the vents must be reopened, they cannot stay closed forever or we run the risk of suffocation from lack of air.
Before doing so, wisdom dictates that every single person in our cabin be given a fair chance to brace and get him or herself ready to be in the best condition to withstand and fight this awful virus. This has not happened because the present Government appears to be listening to one narrative only which is: "Take the Pfizer vaccine, take it, take it, that's the best thing you can do and all should be OK." Well, this is a time when OK is not OK. People's lives depend on decisions that Dr. Lee makes and he is an anesthesiologist, not a virologist and for that matter, neither am I but I know my limitations.
I was informed by the deputy CMO that Dr. Lee is following Public Health UK but he has also reassured me that PH, UK has said that each jurisdiction is free to do what is in its best interest. My response was: "Then why follow Public Health UK?" Having worked in the UK as a Surgeon for years, I am familiar with their Health Care System and I can assure you it is far from the best in the world. Furthermore, it has deteriorated since the 70s for many reasons, the main one being underfunding of the system. The UK has decided not to lockdown again because their Government cannot any longer afford to do so and people there, I an told, are free to do whatever they like. All of this coupled with the UK's dismal performance during this pandemic are reasons not to follow them lockstep.
Never before have risks that affect one aspect of life affected others as they do in today's world. Interdependence is a hallmark of today's world. Health risks will give rise to economic risks which turn into political ones due to unemployment leading to social unrest or of technological risks morphing into social risks, such as, using mobile phones to trace the pandemic which could cause a societal backlash. In today's world risks amplify each other and have cascading effects.
Incidentally, this is not to deign what anyone has said publicly but the Covid-19 virus differs greatly from the smallpox virus. Smallpox is caused by the variola virus which is a DNA virus and DNA viruses seldom mutate and are far more stable than the Covid-19 virus and can, therefore, be more easily eradicated by vaccination. Yet it took nearly two centuries to eradicate smallpox in humans worldwide. However, the smallpox virus still exists, hence, the fear of th US Government after 9/11. It could easily be used as a bioweapon!
The comparison of Covid-19 with Polio is more acceptable, at least both are single stranded RNA viruses but the polio virus does not mutate as often as does Covid-19. Already the Greek alphabet is almost exhausted by Covid-19 variants and scientists have predicted that by two years time, we may have encountered as many as three hundred variants. Polio has not as yet been eradicated in humans, there was even a recent outbreak in the USA. Most outbreaks today are caused by the vaccine itself when the half dead virus in the vaccine becomes live enough to cause the disease. In fact, no RNA virus has, as far as I know, ever been eradicated. Scientists abandoned the quest to develop vaccines against the common Cold because it has such low mortality and morbidity and because of how fast its causative viruses mutate. Unlike influenza, people would have to take multiple vaccines every year even if they were available for the common Cold. Unfortunately, virologists know that we'll still be battling with Covid-19 for a long time yet. Sad but true.
For those of you who question why I took so long to speak publicly, these are my reasons:
1) There was no need to do so when the last Government was in power because I agreed with almost 100% of their decisions re Covid-19.
2) I became increasingly concerned as this Administration made more and more poor decisions. At this point, I publicly disclose that I supported this Government initially and may still do if they wise-up! I could no longer sit by and watch our freedoms being eroded unnecessarily. I do not support one man, namely Dr. John Lee, having absolute authority to decide how and what can be used to treat every single one of us in the Cayman Islands. Yes, private doctors are free to treat patients but only with this infernal vaccine when there are many other vaccines and other therapies available. In my opinion, every single person whether vaccinated or not should demand our political representatives to release us from this STRANGLEHOLD immediately. We should not sit down and accept this nonsense while we know that HUNDREDS ARE DYING, both the VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED, in the UK from the Covid-19 delta variant as was predicted would happen by renown virologists. This is not a joking matter!
If Government takes the following steps, we could very well emerge as an example to the rest of the world:
1) Constitute a Covid-19 task force IMMEDIATELY to advise the Government on Covid-19 related matters.
2) Cease following the dictates of Public Health UK on this matter. According to the Deputy CMO, the UK Government has given each jurisdiction freedom to implement measures which it considers best. This is NOT a ONE MAN SHOW so, Stop following the advice of one man who is not even a virologist and why should we follow the UK knowing their dismal performance during this pandemic?
3) Release the draconian STRANGLEHOLD imposed on us IMMEDIATELY and allow Pharmacists and Doctors to bring in whatever can help in this fight against Covid-19. Allow doctors to do what we are trained to do: TREAT PATIENTS. We treat many life threatening, contagious conditions anyway. The Government will also emerge with less mud on their faces in the long run.
4) Implement a staged opening up of the borders asap but afterT all of us have had the chance to make sensible choices. There are many more things we can do besides taking this Pfizer vaccine.
5) Recognize and involve the private medical community in this fight. Together we see more patients daily than the three hospitals put together!
For example, why should private Employers be encouraged to accept exemption letters issued by HSA doctors. All doctors are registered to practice medicine in the Cayman Islands and we should never be registered to do so if we are not trustworthy.
6) DO NOT EVEN DREAM OF MANDATING ANY SPECIFIC TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 AS MANY OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE AND ARE DOING. CHINA has been saying for a long time that it will stop at nothing until it is the WORLD'S SUPERPOWER and THE WHOLE WORLD IMMULATE THEIR POLITICAL MODEL. The question then remains: "Will we support their endeavour?"
Dealing with this pandemic is not an easy task, all Caymanians are aware of that so, let us summon all the help we can get before it is too late. Lastly, I don't profess to know everything either but I do hope that, at least, some of my suggestions are adopted and I stand here willing to assist in whatever way that I can.
This is one of the most lengthy dissertations that I've written in ages but I owe it to our Country that we all love, land of our birth and I beg your indulgence to read it.
Dr. S. Tomlinson FRCS
The views, opinions and thoughts expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do necessarily reflect the views, opinions or thoughts of Caymanian Times.