The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) has restated its demand that the Ministry of Health clarifies the reporting of COVID-19 death statistics.

In a release signed by NATUC General Secretary, Michael Annisette, the trade union body maintains its position that the Ministry “should provide an explicit and standardized definition for a COVID-19 related cause of death e.g. COVID-19 pneumonia, sepsis or multiple organ failure.”

The full text of the statement from NATUC, follows…

The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) having not seen a response from anyone with respect to the statements made by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the media briefing on 29.12.21, is forced, once again, to pick up the fight on behalf of the working class of Trinidad and Tobago and demand that the Chief Medical Officer comes clean and give the general public the valid and straightforward statistics concerning Covid-19 and Covid-19 related deaths in Trinidad and Tobago.

NATUC want to make it clear that we are not doctors, nor do we have doctors in NATUC, but we have common sense, which was made before books, and we have spiritual guidance.

The CMO has tacitly admitted that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has faltered in setting a case definition for a COVID-19 fatality. As it stands persons counted as covid deaths include

1)     Any patient who is admitted to hospital and succumbs to a non-covid pathology (e.g. heart attacks, stroke, cancer, kidney or liver failure and surgical emergencies) and who incidentally test positive for covid at or shortly after the time of death.

2)      Any deceased person in the community that incidentally tests positive for covid even if their medical history is not consistent of covid.

3)      Any COVID free patient who is admitted to a hospital for another condition and eventually develops COVID on the ward and subsequently dies from either a covid or non-covid related complication.

COVID-19 has a >95% survival rate, as such many if not most of the patients who die from other conditions and who incidentally test positive for COVID-19 should not be incorporated into the COVID-19 statistic under the assumption that they “would have died” from COVID.

NATUC wishes to reemphasise that the MOH should provide an explicit and standardized definition for a COVID-19 related cause of death e.g. COVID-19 pneumonia, sepsis or multiple organ failure. The primary cause of death recorded on the death certificate should corroborate with a relevant medical history from a family member. For example a deceased person who experienced symptoms associated with a heart attack, and whose history is consistent with chest pains, should not be classified as COVID-19 if their cadaver tests positive for the virus.

A positive PCR test at the time of death does not satisfactorily classify as a COVID fatality because, given the rate of transmission in the community, many persons are expected to be incidentally positive for COVID-19 even though COVID-19 did not cause their death. 

Furthermore, the MOH should publish the non-COVID fatalities, alongside the daily COVID deaths, so the public can determine if the baseline deaths that were occurring prior to COVID are now subsumed into the COVID-19 statistic. Prior to covid, 34 persons died every day in Trinidad; what is the present daily death rate in Trinidad?

Medical Segregation Demands Incontrovertible, Empiric Data

The government’s safe zone policy which began on 11.10.21, is built on the notion that vaccinated persons are unlikely to contract or transmit covid, whilst unvaccinated persons are a disproportionate threat to others. However indisputable empiric data should be provided if the government wishes to proceed with a program of medical segregation that systematically excludes unvaccinated persons from public spaces, employment opportunities, government offices and from public dining or entertainment venues.

The MOH still fails to report or perhaps, wilfully omits the number of daily COVID cases occurring amongst the vaccinated. These vaccine “breakthrough” cases are expected to account for many outbreaks in workplaces and households, however a failure to identify and report such cases to the public has encouraged people into a false sense of security after vaccination. Vaccinated persons, who are significantly at risk of infection were emboldened to unmask and fraternize intimately in bars, restaurants, and other places of leisure. This has likely contributed to the surge in cases which occurred after the safe zone initiative was launched on the 11th October 2021.

Going forward the MOH must transparently report the daily number of COVID-19 breakthroughs involving vaccinated individuals so that citizens can determine if vaccination is proving successful in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and if the rationale behind segregating citizens using the safe zones and quasi-safe zones is justifiable.

Conclusion

To date the lack of a standardized definition for COVID-19 fatalities, as well as the failure to report covid-19 breakthrough cases amongst the vaccinated has created a sense of public confusion, frustration, and mistrust. The has left many citizens to view the MOH briefing as little more than a public relations stunt rather than a transparent disclosure of useful data that provides insight into the overall success of the vaccine drive or the safe zone initiative.

NATUC SAY NO TO MANDATORY VACCINATION.

NATUC SAY NO TO SAFE ZONES.

NATUC SAY YES TO GENUINE SOCIAL DIALOGUE.