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Blog 4 - Covid Situation Grave and Will get Worse – but Vaccination Works

19.11.2021

 At his Press Conference today, Minister Jagutpal gave the Covid death figures for the past week, last Friday until today. There have been 85 deaths. This is the highest weekly toll so far. 


So, Mauritius, after near total-success in containing the epidemic, by means of draconian and effective lockdowns, after the first outbreak in 2020, is now, like all the other countries did in the first wave and are doing once again in the second wave when the Delta variant is like an accelerator, buckling for the first time, under the combined pressure of an infectious illness that is persistent, serious, difficult to monitor because so often asymptomatic, and spreads fast. It is a real stress-test of the health services, and is a real strain on all health workers. We need to act so as to limit this stress and this strain. The short-sightedness of the Hotel Bosses – with their opposition to further lock-downs – must not be submitted to.


Since the increase in the spread, the Government has closed down all primary schools, pre-primary schools and universities; has put civil servants on to a maximum “work-from-home” regime, and has called for the same in the private sector; all this has the side-effect of reducing crowds in buses and on the metro; today a new regulation has banned standing in buses; beach picnics are banned; gatherings cannot be bigger than 50 for receptions, funerals and weddings; religious services are limited to 10; the universal mask mandate remains. In LALIT, we think these measures are not enough to slow the spread down fast. A more severe lock-down for 10 days or so will, in our opinion, be necessary for health reasons, in the immediate, and for economic reasons in the middle term.  


Had there not been as much vaccination by now, whether in other countries or in Mauritius, this wave would be much worse still. Just look at the figures for Mauritius. As we know, small numbers do not make good statistics, and these are still relatively “small numbers” (not for the loss of life, but for statistical deductions to be made safely). Of the 85 deaths this week, 36 were of vaccinated people out of a population of over 900,000 vaccinated (0.004%), while 49 were of unvaccinated people out of a population of only 90,000 (0.05%). This means we are suffering from an epidemic of the unvaccinated: while making up 1/10 of the adults, the unvaccinated are nearly 60% of cases of such serious illness as to lead to death. The unvaccinated are over 10 times as likely to suffer serious illness leading to death.


So, we still need to encourage everyone to go and get vaccinated, and to get the booster shots, too. being fully vaccinated means we spread Covid much less than if unvaccinated. All this to say that the epidemic would be under better control had we all stepped up and taken the vaccination.


We also need to “stay in” for all but essential activities, and walk for all or part of your trip to work and back.


And we need to call for the Government to take stricter measures i.e. restrict all non-work gatherings to 10 or even less, for a start. We believe that, although people understand, in general, the need for this, we still need professionals to come on MBC TV and on Radio every day to explain and re-explain the need to stop the spread. We need all journalists to join the effort to stop the spread of the epidemic.


Lindsey Collen 


for LALIT,  19 November, 2021.