With an estimated population of 60,000, Tobago had recorded 100 COVID-19 deaths as of yesterday.

This grim statistic comes as the Delta variant has been confirmed to be spreading across the community. To date, Tobago has confirmed five Delta cases, but this doesn’t reflect the total number of possible cases.

A look back – The COVID-19 waves

Tobago has gone through several “waves” of COVID-19 compared to Trinidad. There was phase one, where cases mainly were imported before July 2020, and phase two, where community spread began in August through October, closely matching Trinidad’s ebb and flow of cases.

However, the island recorded a surge during December 2020 and January 2021 attributed to inter-island travel with community transmission ongoing. Still, active cases never crossed 100 through March 2021.

From April 2021, like Trinidad, cases began to surge across Tobago, as the country entered phase three of the pandemic.

Active cases rapidly surpassed 100 in May, reaching an initial peak of 201 on June 3.

In Trinidad, cases followed a similar increase, peaking on May 26.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the causes of the rise in cases are multi-faceted, primarily attributed to increased and sustained mixing of the population and the circulation of the Gamma (P.1) variant. The first confirmed sample of the P.1 variant was detected in Trinidad on April 19 and in Tobago on July 27.

However, unique to Tobago, cases declined through June, reaching a minimum of 87 active cases on June 28.

After reaching peak active cases of 636 in mid-August, cases declined but then plateaued at a high daily case rate, similar to Trinidad.

Now, there is the community transmission of the Delta variant, first detected in Trinidad on August 8 and then in Tobago on October 10. Cases continue to fluctuate, with active cases ranging between 280 and 340.

A surge in deaths

Tobago’s first COVID-19 death was an elderly male on May 4, 2020. Tobago was spared a surge in deaths during the post-2020 General Election community spread surge, with the island reporting only two deaths for the entirety of 2020. In fact, a 230-day period passed before Tobago recorded its third death in 2021.

From May 10, 2021, however, Tobago has recorded near-daily deaths, with its deadliest days reported on September 11 and, more recently, October 24, with three deaths each. Of Tobago’s 100 COVID deaths, 95 had comorbidities.

Tobago’s oldest COVID-19 fatality was a 98-year-old female with comorbidities on July 31, 2021. Tobago’s youngest COVID death was a 26-year-old-male, with comorbidities on June 19, 2021. There have been seven young-adult deaths, 27 middle-aged deaths and 66 elderly deaths or those above 60.

Month-to-date, Tobago is on track to record its fourth-deadliest month for the pandemic to date, with October recording 12 deaths as of yesterday (October 27). Tobago’s deadliest month, August 2021, recorded 23 deaths, with September in second place, recording 22 deaths.

For the last several months, the pace of vaccinations in Tobago has remained slow. The seven-day rolling average for total vaccines administered now stands at 107 doses per day.

To date, 22,337 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, with 20,424 people fully vaccinated. These numbers account for 62 per cent of Tobago’s target population of 36,000 out of a total estimated population of 60,000 people.

Tobago’s vaccination numbers also include the school-aged population, where 51 per cent have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

In comparison, 36 per cent are fully immunised, according to Tobago’s Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development.