Published On: Thu, Aug 20th, 2020

Is there a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel?

We were asked the other night whether there will be another lockdown of the island. Our answer was that we do not think so. The good news tonight is that the number of active cases has further dropped to 198.

See: https://news.sx/covid-19/covid-19-has-decreased-to-198-confirmed/

Some 39 people have recovered from the coronavirus infection since August 18th. Despite the number of hospitalized cases due to COVID-19 related medical issues still on the rise, as of yesterday, it stood at 15, the number of deaths remains stable at 17.

See https://news.sx/health/smmc-halts-non-emergency-medical-procedures-policlinics-to-continue/

Indications are that the number of cases on St. Maarten is beginning to level off. According to the latest WHO figures, the average death rate is 0.6% of cases, and more and more research is showing that herd immunity is taking effect, eventhough some consider this to be misleading.

Increased testing shows that more people have the virus infection. Still, people are not dying from it anymore like before at the height of the worldwide outbreak in February, March, and April. Therefore, the strategy will now be to protect those who are elderly and susceptible, and those who have medical issues and underlying comorbidities. There is much research to do, but the trend seems to be going in a positive direction. The rate of infection is dropping to the level of a regular flu epidemic.

However, suppose things do get out of hand again. In that case, the solution this time, instead of doing a lockdown, is to isolate those who may be vulnerable for whatever reason, elderly and sick already.

The other good news is that tests show that people who get the virus once and overcome it do not get sick again from it. Again, the final word on this development is still unsaid. Nevertheless, this could mean good news for the development of a vaccine.

The other good news is, is that if this turns out to be accurate, once you take a vaccine once, the prognosis is that it should work for the rest of your life against the coronavirus. But to develop that vaccine is a race against the clock now. They have now produced new ways to develop vaccines faster.

The question now will be, if a vaccine proves to be effective, should one person, one company or one country be allowed to benefit from this vaccine alone? Or should the vaccine be distributed worldwide freely as a public service to the general population via government-funded programs?

Related: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-make-coronavirus-vaccine-available-to-all-39928

In the end, it will be all about money and who can profit from it. How the vaccine’s distribution is done will prove whether there is indeed a ‘new normal’ in a post-pandemic era. Until then, if there is indeed a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, we look forward to it getting bigger and brighter.