BELAIR: The steep rise in active COVID-19 cases is very worrisome, because this trend resembles the outbreaks seen/experienced on the other Dutch Caribbean islands, according to St. Maarten health officials.
What is also worrisome is there are five people in the hospital.
These indicators are almost identical to what was seen at the start of the massive outbreak Curacao experienced in April. This outbreak put that country into a lockdown with 1,000 new active cases and multiple people dying every day.
That disastrous scenario was caused by the UK variant, which is far more contagious and targets younger people. One hundred percent of the active cases on St. Maarten are of the UK (British) variant, which explains the steep increase in infections and younger persons now being hospitalized.
Considering the similarity in critical indicators, it is likely that the virus will spread similarly on St. Maarten and cause similar problems. Such a scenario would entail more persons in need of hospitalizations than there are beds available, more deaths due to COVID-19, and the reinstatement of the COVID-19 restrictions for residents and businesses, and if necessary, a curfew and lockdown.
The percentage of persons on St. Maarten currently vaccinated is not higher than Curacao when their outbreak started.
The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effectively protects from the COVID-19 virus and variants. It is free and now available for everyone not yet vaccinated.
Free vaccination is available at Belair Community Center and CPS office in Philipsburg on weekdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Extended opening hours at Belair are on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 8:00pm.