Has the penny dropped?

  • Sombre view: on the day when the first two deaths of residents from Covid-19 were announced by the Bermuda Government, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines arrives at LF Wade International Airport in the company of medical professional Stanley James to witness the arrival of much needed medical kits and the return of Bermudians who had been stranded in Britain (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Sombre view: on the day when the first two deaths of residents from Covid-19 were announced by the Bermuda Government, Minister of National Security Wayne Caines arrives at LF Wade International Airport in the company of medical professional Stanley James to witness the arrival of much needed medical kits and the return of Bermudians who had been stranded in Britain (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)


The day we feared has arrived, with notification that Bermuda has suffered its first deaths as a result of the Covid-19 disease.

It is a sad day for the country.

It is a sadder day for the families affected — they have our prayers and sympathies.

We have become a statistic in the global death toll, which stands at close to 75,000 — and the steepling counts in Italy (16,523), Spain (13,341), United States (10,792), France (8,911) and Britain (5,373) should now have greater and more forceful meaning for an island whose indifference to this point can be said to be nothing short of staggering.

The lack of comprehension is heart-rendingly embarrassing, especially because we have had a 73-day head start from when the first death was reported at “Ground Zero” in Wuhan, China, on January 23.

It is time that Bermuda, all of Bermuda, appreciates that this coronavirus is here and that it poses an existential threat to our lives and to our livelihoods.

We have been feeling the pinch on our economy and at our jobs with widespread layoffs that have affected even this newspaper.

And now we are paying for our blasé, “Bermuda is another world” approach with loss of life.

There is nothing that can be done to bring back those we have lost, yet there is so much that can be done to prevent future loss of life.

But we are not doing it.

We are letting ourselves down.

We are letting our brothers and sisters down.

We are letting our mothers and fathers down.

And we are setting dreadful, dreadful examples for our children.

The selfish and immature chord that runs throughout this island, with all of its “First World” privileges, has left our leaders in a frustrated heap — having repeatedly to remind of some very basic guidelines, first on prescribed hygiene to stop Covid-19 at source and then during the 24-hour lockdown when it became clear the virus was set loose on our shores.

We have had only three days of the enforced “shelter-at-home” policy, but the feeling is that it may become something significantly more constricting and last a damn sight longer than two weeks if our public insist on looking to seize any loophole where they can find it.

Gaming the system, chancers call it.

But be damned, constitutional rights!

If Bermudians cannot get it in their thick skulls that the measures taken by a suddenly under-pressure government are to save their own lives, perhaps a more heavy-handed approach is called for.

Fines running into the thousands. Incarceration. Executed not threatened.

Examples need to be made.

Bermuda cannot afford to carry on down this path of casual insubordination.

Covid-19 is no respecter of reputation, nor does it buy in to myths about this place that should set us apart.

If we are not ready, if we do not pay attention, it will hurt us.

It already has.

We are not equipped for a full-blown dose of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that leads to Covid-19, no matter that the British Government and others in the international community have provided welcome assistance to bolster our defences.

Our healthcare system will bend and it will break. And more people will die.

So, hopefully for the final time, stay at home means stay at home.

For those who persist in putting me first, the life you save may be your own.

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Published Apr 7, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 8:23 am)

Has the penny dropped?

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