Despite reassurances from the authorities about the successful vaccination roll-out, the continuing spiral of Covid-19 cases in Cayman remains a major worry.
And with the borders now poised to be reopened on 20 November to international travel, especially tourism, suppressing the seeming unrelenting community spread is increasingly becoming a priority.
Until recently, the official daily updated Covid dashboard has been a reliable indicator to monitor the extent to which the disease has embedded itself in the community.
But a growing incidence of ‘pending’ statistics especially on the number of people in isolation - many due to being exposed to people who have tested positive - makes it difficult to gauge just how widespread the outbreak really is.
However, reports that suggest that the surge is now showing up within communities of the workforce, are even more concerning.
That this is occurring as Cayman eases closer to the 20 November ‘Reopening Day’ could spell disaster for many businesses hoping to regain their financial footing after a year and a half of slow or no business.
The elephant in the room is the continued community spread of Covid-19 side-lining large numbers of critical workers in the tourism and related sectors and the consequential impact on businesses.
Many of these workers live in densely populated housing conditions where a single positive case could quite easily - and unintentionally - spread like wildfire. And it appears that there are already instances of this occurring.
The successful vaccination roll-out so far is not the issue. Vaccinated people can still get infected - though less seriously so we are assured - and can spread the virus.
The issue appears to be both of some people not sticking to the safety protocols while circulating in the community, and situations of persons living cramped shared households where social distancing and other precautionary steps become even more challenging.
If the reopening plan is to work according to plan, the circumstances under which many of these ‘communities of workers’ live must be addressed to reduce the risk of downtime and loss of productivity due to mass illness.
It could very well require targeted guidance and support for these ‘communities of workers’ to ensure that they do not become the victims of a mass outbreak of Covid-19 in their environs and the risk of spreading into the wider community.
The plain and simple fact is that the present numbers of positive cases don’t look good and threaten to undermine the gains made with the successful vaccination programme.
Addressing this must become a crucial part of the reopening plan as the health and welfare of the workforce is critical to how Cayman moves forward from 20 November.
Unless taken seriously and given priority attention, this elephant in the room could trample all over Cayman’s reopening plans.