Since the beginning of the Covid epidemic, we in LALIT have not been satisfied with the Government statistics’ failure to show the trends of the epidemic in a readily understandable form. And it is trends that are essential to everyone’s understanding of the need for public health measures that we each need to take. The figures given by the Government have just got less and less useful. Until now, they have become a smokescreen.
Good clear statistics are useful because they help everyone do their bit: to go out and get vaccinated, to not go out for non-essential gatherings, to wear masks well, to keep a good social distance and to keep windows open and hands well-washed.
The Government publishes some daily statistics. True. They publish daily figures for vaccinations in arms. That is useful, but more in the long term, and not indicative of the trend of the epidemic itself. We are given stats for how many people have recovered from Covid. Also useful. Even if it is designed to make us feel hopeful in a vague sort of way. We are given stats for new positive cases in the past 24 hours – which is, since about mid-2021, merely a product of the number of tests done. Mauritius at about that time changed from the test-trace-test-isolate strategy, when the figures were useful, and began instead to follow the “USA model” of PCR-testing only people with symptoms. So, in an epidemic where there are so many asymptomatic people, it is a less-than-useful figure. Only PCR tests, not the Rapid Tests, are reliable enough to be counted, anyway. Figures for deaths are only given once a week now. To catch them you have to listen in to the Government Press Conference at 2:00 pm on Fridays.
Now, the daily communiqués include only one little set of statistics that we have to rely upon to try to follow the trend of the epidemic. And those, too, are given for just one day: Admissions and Discharges from Regional Hospitals. We never get given a trend. For this article, we had to go and look up each day, in the besafemoris.mu archives just in order to establish a fortnight’s trend. This is what we found. (We have not included ENT admissions and discharges because they include, we assume, transfers rather than admissions – which would mean double-accounting – and in any case, the figures at the ENT have stabilized in the last week at about three cases each way a day, and we know the death rate at the ENT’s ICU is high for the evident reason that the grave cases get transferred there.)
Anyway, here is what we can see with the only statistics that help us define the “trend” of the epidemic in the country, moving back in time from yesterday for two weeks. What these figures show us is that the epidemic is not yet under control. It is still spreading wider, in that there are more admissions than discharges in 12 of the 14 days, as you will see. On Average there are 17 more admissions than discharges per day. Study these figures to get a feel for the trend. Do the calculations yourself. The last week is better, obviously than the one before, but only slightly. But there is still a constant increase:
Date Admissions Discharges (from regional hospitals)
5 Dec 43 28
4 Dec 41 30
3 Dec 38 39
2 Dec 38 42
1 Dec 66 37
30 Nov 57 36
29 Nov 40 17
28 Nov 37 25
27 Nov 65 45
26 Nov 62 44
25 Nov 47 43
24 Nov 73 29
23 Nov 58 31
22 Nov 54 37
We conclude that there are 235 more patients right now admitted to Regional Hospitals for Covid treatment than there were on 22 November, exactly two weeks ago. The figure is high, and is still rising.
This means too much pressure is being put on the health care workers and the whole health care service. This, in turn, means we should all immediately stop all non-essential outings, if we have not yet done so. It also means, in turn, that the Government should be preparing to announce tighter measures, so as to co-ordinate us all. Otherwise there will be more illness and death, more stress on the health care services – and more “rouge écarlate” announcements from abroad.
That is where we are today. The tourism bosses and government should face reality, and help curb the epidemic, not mask the truth.
So, in LALIT, we have two immediate demands. One, that the Government publish more useful statistics, compiling rates of admission, rates of discharge and death figures – at least weekly – in writing as well as orally at the Press Conference. And we demand tighter restrictions on gatherings until the hospitalizations first begin to go down and then stabilize at a much lower level.
As you can see, we are not out of the woods yet.
This is a new version of our article with the statistics in the “table” corrected – there were two typos, and these, in turn, made the daily average admissions minus discharges 17 not 16.