UWI’s Dr Ogunsalu says intermittent lockdown is not working, practice is biased to the tourism sector
WHILE THE Government is placing much faith in the intermittent lockdown of the country as a COVID-19-containment measure, Dr Christopher Ogunsalu, the outspoken senior lecturer in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies, has described the measure as selfish.
“What the Government is doing has no scientific basis and should be stopped. It is selfish to the point that it leaves only the tourist industry intact for economic reasons, which continues to backfire since the tourists are primarily responsible for the importation of the virus and the emerging new strains coming into Jamaica,” said Ogunsalu.
According to Ogunsalu, the current strategy of opening Wednesday, Thursday and Friday does nothing but facilitate excessive crowding, with no social distancing, on Wednesday, since people are trying to make up for the time lost to productivity on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as a consequence of the lockdown.
“The strategy itself has not brought down the number of COVID-19 cases. The hospitals are overburdened because of the number of tests they have to do and the treatment to be carried out on sick COVID-19 patients. There are a lot more cases unrecorded or documented, mainly because the patients do not have money for testing because of this same lockdown,” said Ogunsalu.
RETHINK AND ASSIST
According to Ogunsalu, the main reason for the increase in COVID-19 cases in Jamaica is twofold – the politicisation of the pandemic by the Government and the Opposition, and the commercialisation of the pandemic by the private health sector.
“It is time for the Government of Jamaica to rethink and assist to ensure that everything is done to eradicate the virus from Jamaica, which has a reasonable chance of developing eradicating models to be emulated by other countries,” said Ogunsalu. “It would seem that the politicians are now the doctors, telling everyone how to prevent COVID-19, and this is wrong. The prevention of COVID-19 in any country is a function of the health profession, especially the public health nurses, doctors, and related healthcare workers.”
Ogunsalu is also of the view that the haste in reopening the nation’s border before time, which he believes contributed to the spread of the coronavirus, is now backfiring, especially with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises the World Health Organization, advising Americans not to travel to Jamaica.
“Paradoxically, they revealed by mistake the truth about the vaccination, by saying that because of the current situation in Jamaica, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. This means that they are vehemently warning those who are fully vaccinated, too,” said Ogunsalu.
“This is the truth; a vaccinated person is not exempted from getting and spreading COVID-19, especially the new variants. The medical profession, especially those at the citadel of academic excellence (UWI), must immediately constitute a voluntary advisory committee, with advice directed to the people living in Jamaica. The same committee must advise the Government and hospitals that once a patient is diagnosed by laboratory means to be COVID-19 positive, such a patient must be detained in a facility and not sent home to be quarantined. This ‘sending home’ quarantine has not worked for us, for obvious reasons,” added Ogunsalu.
While not downplaying the COVID-19 vaccine, Ogunsalu is also urging the Government to look at alternate treatment regimes such as steam inhalation therapy, which studies have shown drastically reduces the symptoms in COVID-19 patients by decreasing the severity and duration of infections.
“Recently, a group of enthusiastic clinical researchers from multiple nationalities also concluded a research /therapeutic clinical trial, which has validated the use of menthol crystal inhalation in early diagnosed positive patients. Menthol crystal inhalation will not only prevent emerging symptoms, but will remit present symptoms and reverse the status of the patient to negative within two to four days. Menthol crystal is from a plant called Mentha and has been used for many years for respiratory disease. It is God’s own cure for COVID-19.”