Since there is almost no way in Belize to get to the bottom of anything when the ruling party wants to keep things under wraps, and the main opposition party is not too interested, we can only speculate on the main source of the COVID-19 virus that is now loose in the country. There has been a serious spike in cases of the disease, and people have died, people are lining up to be tested, and staff and space at our main hospital are severely strained.
A month ago we appeared to have everything under control, then things fell apart. The government owes us a full explanation of what caused us to suffer this serious outbreak. Belizeans have every right to be disappointed, because so many are doing all they can to help our country avoid another extremely costly lockdown.
We know what to do to defeat COVID-19!
Everyone wants to see the new coronavirus completely under control in Belize, and all we need is the effort, because we have the information to defeat it. It is important to understand that there is no test that can definitively show that we are COVID-19 free. There are very reliable tests that can indicate we have the virus; we are not aware of any tests that can show definitively that we don’t.
The disease doesn’t sicken everyone. You can feel 100% healthy, and you might be the biggest spreader of the disease.
COVID-19 spreads quickly in enclosed, crowded areas. The tools we have to stop the spread of the disease are physical distancing (staying six feet away from everyone around us); wearing masks that properly cover our mouths and noses when we are out in the public; washing our hands frequently and making sure that if we touch our masks we do so with clean hands; washing our hands before we touch our faces, and washing them afterwards; and cutting out social visits to our family members, friends and neighbors for just a little while, until the second wave is contained.
The disease doesn’t sicken everyone. You can feel 100% healthy, and you might be the biggest spreader of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
We are losing some vital people
Based on our observation, many of the persons who have succumbed to COVID-19 in Belize were far from feeble. Especially because we are few, we must try to prevent as many deaths as we can. The government must spare no expense; we must buy the best medicines available and provide the best specialist care for our most sick patients.
Doctors in the UK have gone on the record to say that a relatively cheap steroid, Dexamethasone, is producing very good results. We know of another steroid, Prednisone, which is used by doctors in Belize to treat respiratory ailments, so we do have experience with administering that type of drug. Steroids have side effects, like all drugs, but they are relatively safe when they are administered under a doctor’s care.
In June, a 58-year-old doctor in the US told Amandala about his experience with the disease. He said that his doctors told him that his age and excess weight made it more difficult for him to shake the disease as easily as younger, healthier individuals do. He said that when he was going through the inflammatory phase of the disease he was admitted twice to the hospital, for 2-3 day stints. “Steroids seem to be what have made me better each time. It’s amazing that early knowledge (since corrected) thought that steroids were bad for COVID-19!” he told the newspaper.
We don’t know what kind of medications our COVID-19 patients are receiving, but our observation is that the people who have died are way too vital, too full of life, too full of contributions to make to our country, for us to lose them so soon.
The PUP promises African and Mayan history
It is incredible that fifty years after the political/cultural party, UBAD, made the demand for African and Mayan history to be taught in our schools, that only one of those schools, St. John’s College, has completely embraced it. Few Belizeans could be classified as European, yet the history taught in our schools for over a hundred years has been the story of Europe.
These days our students are learning more about life in the Caribbean and the making of Belize under the British, as well as life in the north of our country and Mexico during the Caste War, and there has been increased teaching of the story of the Mayas, but there is little discussion of the great civilizations in Africa.
UBAD was independent of both of the main parties when it formed, and the first time it sought political power was in coalition with the opposition NIP, a joint effort in 1971 to contest the Belize City Council election. Interestingly, it is only the PUP that has respected UBAD’s demands: one, for the eighteen-year-old vote, which the PUP introduced into law in 1978; two, for free radio, which the PUP delivered in 1989, and now the PUP has promised to fulfill the third, the teaching of African and Mayan history in our schools.
The present leader of our country, Hon. Dean Barrow, based on local criteria, is considered the first, and only black leader Belize has ever had. The UDP of 1984 to 1989, and 1993 to 1998, was led by a Mestizo, Dr. Manuel Esquivel, and his governments opted not to introduce the teaching of African and Mayan history in our schools. PM Barrow, the black leader, has sat in the highest office in our land for the last twelve years, but his governments have shown no interest in having the Creole and Garinagu tribes know more about the land their primary ancestors came from.
The children of the other tribes in our country know of the triumphs of their ancestors; the children of Africa have only learned about their ancestors in the Middle Passage and their life with chains on their feet and the whip of a white slave master on their backs.
The PUP has declared that if they come to power in the next general election, they will spread the knowledge of African and Mayan history in schools across our country. The ball is now in the court of the other political parties. Who else will include the teaching of African and Mayan history in their education plan for Belize?