Dr Carl Bruce, one of Jamaica's foremost medical professionals, is urging the country not to allow the gains that have been made in the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic slip away, even as efforts are made to return to a semblance of normality in the economy and other aspects of daily life.
Dr Bruce, Medical Chief of staff and consultant neurosurgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies, and head of University’s medical and Clinical services, spoke with Earl Moxam, host of Radio Jamaica's weekly news review show, That's a Rap, on Sunday, May 24.
"There has to be a fine balance between public health and disease transmission, and the reopening of the economy," he said.
He cited a number of "challenges" that the society will face if that balance is not achieved: "Psychological trauma, mental illness, economic injury, burnout in the long run from covid."
It was therefore important, he said, to settle on "a strategy of screening, testing, isolation and mitigation in hot spots, and work that at the same time with the other industries such as construction and the things that make an economy work, and work as public health people... to see what the level of immunity in the population is... Can we use anti-body testing to guide us as to where we're going?"
Testing continues to be an important part of the national strategy, he said, "...and those test results are fed into the EOC, and EOC can then use those in their decision making process as to which areas they need to keep an eye on, and were do we need to deploy the resources, and how we need to protect the population."
Above all, he said, it was critical that all sectors "work together to ensure that the gains we have made in isolation, containment and mitigation is maintained until we get to that immunity that I spoke about before."
Please click on the audio link above to listen to the interview.