Sun | Aug 9, 2020

People don’t care about masks

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:06 AM


It seems that the throngs on Beckford Street in downtown Kingston and elsewhere don’t agree with Dr Chris Tufton about the need for wearing masks. For Tufton and the health authorities, the COVID-19 epidemic is not over. Without a mask, every individual is in danger of contracting the virus, and the whole country could slip into a dangerous slide.

For the people on the street, there is no such danger. “Look at the taxi driver and the bus driver,” one says – he is talking about Coasters – “most of them don’t wear masks and none tek sick yet.” Another adds: “Yuh don’t ‘ave to be expert to see dat.” Argument done. For these speakers, perhaps the disease never even began, much less is still hanging on.

How to bridge that gap is the question, assuming that the COVID-19 danger does exist and that preventive action is critical. The answer could be to do some random sample testing on Beckford Street and make the public aware of the results. If even a few on Beckford Street and similar places test positive, with or without the symptoms, the health authorities can close their case. Until that is done, an undesirable undermining of ‘authority’ continues, with an outcome that would be much worse than the danger.

Such local testing would appear to be all the more necessary, even urgent. The Government needs to procure more testing kits to meet the local demand.

Such a need exists right now on Beckford Street.