The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Trinidad and Tobago has the potential to completely overwhelm the Caribbean country in less than three weeks, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds has warned.
Hinds, at a virtual Ministry of Health press conference on Monday (May 3), said the twin-island republic is barrelling fast and hard toward having more than 10,000 active COVID-19 cases by May 22.
“At the current rate of speed, looking at the active cases, we are on track to have alarming numbers of active cases by May 22. Looking at upwards of 10,000,” he said.
Such an exponential spread would have disastrous implications for Trinidad’s public health sector, which could see hospitalisations exceed capacity within seven to 10 days.
“We are heading towards the point, in the very near future, where we max hospital capacity, a trend we want to curb, halt and reverse,” Hinds indicated.
Analysis of the current spike in cases by the health ministry proves the April 2021 outbreak was far worse than the previous August-September peak in 2020. The positivity rate is also worryingly high at 35 per cent of all samples tested, Hinds remarked.
“The most important thing to note is the speed at which our cumulative cases have the potential to double. At its fastest, in the August-September period, cases doubled every eight to 10 days; when we introduced the mandatory masking, we had a drop to 19 days,” Hinds said.
“At the current rate of increase, we project that we will double again in 39 days, clearly a lot faster than before and that is a cause for concern,” he remarked further.
The Brazilian variant is fuelling a rate of infection so steep that cumulative projections have been outmatched for the last three days, Hinds added.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley assured the government is monitoring the outbreak as it unfolds.
“Success or failure in this approach to managing COVID lies very heavily on how individual members of the population react to [what] we are doing,” Rowley argued.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Roshan Parasram said the twin-island republic confirmed 241 new COVID-positive cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 11,313.
Trinidad and Tobago is managing 2,503 active cases, its highest ever, while some 220 patients being treated at hospital.
There are 8,633 Trinbagonian recoveries to date and 174 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded.