The daily infographics put out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness show that the number of Covid-19 infections is falling, with only Belize City and some areas in the Cayo District considered as hot spots. Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Michel Chebat, told News5 last week that the measures they put in place are “bearing fruit”, that the results they are seeing make his ministry “cautiously optimistic” about the situation.
The new government increased testing in November, December, and early January, and they have a team doing mobile outreach, going to areas that are hot spots and doing rapid testing.
Belize is under curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., Sunday to Sunday, and it is widely believed that restricting the movement of Belizeans at night has helped halt the spread of the virus. It helps too that most sporting and other entertainment activities are not allowed, and a 10-person limit remains in place for all gatherings.
Another factor that at this time might be playing in Belize’s favour in the fight to contain the spread of Covid-19 is the painful fact that many thousands of Belizeans are out of jobs, and quite likely many of the thousands who have jobs have already contracted the disease and so have some level of immunity. As of January 24, 11,750 Belizeans have contracted the disease, and 11,071 have recovered from it.
We have no proof that many of those infected-and-recovered persons are employed, because there is no data on the work status of persons who have tested positive, but it follows that those most exposed are the ones most likely to contract the disease. The daily interactions of Belizeans who have jobs place them in the high-risk category for infection.
There is optimism over the decreasing numbers, but as Wave Television’s morning show host/Guardian editor, Mr. Alfonso Noble, has noted, we are still reporting deaths almost every day. However, of recent there have been no horrific days on which we’ve had deaths in the double digits, or more than we can count on one hand, and that is further proof that things are not as bad as they were just a month ago. We have still not brought down the number of positive cases per tests done sufficiently, but we are headed in that direction.
The landscape doesn’t look nearly as bad as it did in November and December, but we should not let down our guard. As a reminder to those who tend to forget, we were actually down to zero cases for 53 days in mid-2020, and then the number of cases started climbing again, until we were on the verge of another lockdown. We must heed our medical experts and continue adhering to the safety measures. As the recent past shows, any slip can lead to a great fall.
There is good news going around, news that vaccines that give us the immunity to fight Covid-19 have been approved, and that we will be getting a supply soon, but there is also worrisome news that new variants of the virus are spreading across the globe — variants that are more infectious, and maybe even more deadly. It is believed that the new vaccines will give us immunity that is effective against the new variants, but the jury is still out there.
The devastation of SARS-CoV-2 is the bitter price of unclean living. In the Book of Leviticus, the children of Israel were told what meats they could eat, what was kosher, and what wasn’t. One meat that was strictly forbidden was that from swine. In the days of Moses, swine carried dangerous diseases and were infested by parasites.
Modern agricultural practices protect swine from infestation by deadly parasites, and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority has strict rules to prevent the sale of diseased pork on the market, so strictly from a secular position, that meat is now safe to eat.
All of the evidence points to the catastrophic SARS-CoV-2 virus jumping from bats to human beings, because of people who eat bats. The deadly Ebola virus is believed to have jumped from monkeys to human beings, because of people who eat monkeys.
Despite the danger it brings to all of us, there is very little we can do to stop those living in foreign lands from eating unclean animals. All we can do is defend ourselves when there is a disease outbreak. We know the cure for Covid-19, and that is for us to follow the safety measures promoted/mandated by our medical experts and government.
Hopes in a new US government
The last leader of the USA, Mr. Donald Trump, spoke derogatively of so-called third world countries, countries like ours, but he had a rather large following in Belize because of his government’s far right economic philosophy, and his government’s stance against gay marriage, abortion, and stem cell research.
The last US administration did yield a bit on stem cell research, because use of fetal tissue has been prominent in the development of vaccines to fight SARS-CoV-2; however, in normal times the Trump administration placed heavy restrictions on scientists who sought grants to do studies that involved fetal tissue.
The new US administration, with Mr. Joe Biden as president and Mrs. Kamala Harris as vice-president, in some areas is the polar opposite of the previous one. Wednesday, January 20, 2021, inauguration day for the new administration, was a splendid one for the LGBT agenda, the pro-choice movement, and the rights of scientists to use fetal cells to advance medicine.
Belizeans who have become citizens of the USA overwhelmingly cheer the change in administration, to a great extent because they perceived the Trump administration as racist, but in Belize there are many other critical issues we will be keeping an eye on. We have reason to hope that the new US administration will be easing up on the restrictions they have on Cuba, and that the Palestinians will get more respect, but we expect they won’t be softening up too much on the government in oil-rich Venezuela.
We anticipate a softer policy on the marijuana and hemp industries, and one consequence of that would be that the harsh law banning the sale of marijuana will be wiped off the books in Belize. We are praying that there’ll be an easing of the banking laws that restrict our capacity to do business with our great friends in America, and the world.