For the second time this month, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded its deadliest day for the pandemic, as 31 people succumbed to COVID-19 yesterday. Among these deaths were ten elderly males, nine elderly females, six middle-aged males, five middle-aged females and one male child. The death of the child means the country has now lost two children to COVID-19 in the last six days and five for the pandemic since March 2020.
The death of the child came one day after Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh revealed that 14 children under the age of one had contracted the virus in the last three months, among them eleven babies under three months old.
Commenting on the incidence of child deaths within the last week, internal medicine specialist Dr Joel Teelucksingh yesterday described it as frightening but not unexpected.
“It’s certainly a frightening trend but expected in parts of the world in which the tsunami of the Delta variant has struck and with this new variant, there has been increased transmissibility and the potential for younger persons being extremely ill,” Dr Teelucksingh said.
He said it’s a reminder that no one is exempt from the disease.
“It would be tantamount to playing Russian roulette to say that you are young, fit and well and that you do not need to adhere to the restrictions and mitigation strategies outlined to prevent transmission, or you do not need to vaccinate. It would be foolhardy at this point because highly transmissible variants like Delta and the evolving so-called super variant in parts of southern Africa will cut through unvaccinated populations like a scythe and could potentially increase the mortality rate in persons who are prone to infection,” he said.
Dr Teelucksingh said it’s important that parents get vaccinated and adhere to the public health protocols to help reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to their children.
Meanwhile, November has become the second deadliest month for COVID-19, recording 344 deaths in the last 25 days. June 2021 was so far the country’s deadliest month, recording 352 deaths.
Yesterday, the country also confirmed 624 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, marking the third consecutive day of over 600 cases. During the past month, 10,959 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, making November the second most infectious month to date, behind May 2021’s whopping 13,085 cases.
Active cases now stand at 9,606 and based on the current rate of increase, T&T could cross 10,000 active cases by this weekend and reach record highs by next week.
As COVID-19 cases increase, so do hospitalisations, which are now at a pandemic high of 572. Six of Trinidad’s COVID-19 hospitals are above 75 per cent occupancy, a level at which resources are put under strain. There are three COVID-19 hospitals above 100 per cent occupancy, meaning beds outside of those allocated for COVID-19 were converted to ward positive patients. The Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility’s ICU, which houses some of the most critical patients, is at 93 per cent occupancy with two beds left. Similarly, Tobago’s ICU, where capacity was recently expanded, is at 82 per cent occupancy, with two beds remaining.
Vaccinations remain low in the 24-hour reporting period, with just 3,380 doses administered. However, only 1,166 of these doses were among people inoculated for the first time with either a first dose or a one-dose vaccine. As the country ends its ninth month with freely available and accessible vaccines, 54.2 per cent of the population remains unvaccinated, while 57.3 per cent of the population is not fully vaccinated.