Trinidad and Tobago is among the countries winning the fight against Covid-19. This is according to the latest rankings by data tracking website endcoronavirus.org. The site rates countries as either ‘winning’, ‘nearly there’ or ‘needs action’, depending on the rolling seven-day average of their new confirmed cases.
Also making the list of ‘winners’ were countries like Australia, Iceland, Vietnam and New Zealand. From the Caribbean St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and the Bahamas were also doing well controlling new cases of the virus.
Among many ranked as ‘needing action’ were Barbados, Jamaica, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France and the US.
The project that started in February 2020 by the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI)—an independent academic research and educational institution in the US—EndCoronavirus also categorises countries and regions into green, yellow, orange and red zones.
A country in the green zone has no new local transmission for 14 consecutive days, any new cases are imported and isolated upon entering the zone and the region or country doesn’t share a land border with a red zone (otherwise green turns yellow).
The site states: “Green countries are either at that point [zero new cases] or very close to it. Yellow countries are those which could reach that point within a reasonable time frame. They still have to get lower to be green. Red countries are either going the wrong way, staying constant, or going down very slowly.”
Trinidad and Tobago is in the orange (lower than yellow but higher than red) zone. New Zealand, which reported its first community case of Covid-19 in more than two months on Sunday, fell from green to yellow.
The scientists advocate for aggressive action to get to zero new cases. In addition to mask-wearing, social distancing and isolating people who test positive, they also promote contact tracing and massive testing and strict lockdowns.
They write: “A short, hard lockdown saves both the economy and the health of the population. As you can see from the countries which have been successful in fighting Covid-19, it only takes about 5-7 weeks of strong interventions to get rid of the majority of cases. The data show that taking half-measures does not work.”
But not everyone agrees that widespread lockdowns are the answer. In a recent open letter to the UK government, a group of 32 scientists criticised the lockdown policy and recommended a more targeted approach focusing on isolating the older population.
They wrote: “The existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered. The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed. This objective is increasingly unfeasible.”
With some countries going into their second and third lockdown, the public might also be growing weary. Recent anti-lockdown protests in the Netherlands turned violent and ended with the arrest of at least 30 people.
Trinidad and Tobago recorded another 17 confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing total cases to 7490 since March 2020. The death toll remains at 134. There are 40 patients in hospital and seven in step-down facilities. State quarantine facilities are housing 410 people, while 259 are under self-quarantine.