For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 3,000 cases have been recorded in a single month in The Bahamas. With 3,111 cases and 63 COVID deaths confirmed between August 1 and August 27, the country is in the worst place it has been with the virus.
With several days’ counts still outstanding, August has already far surpassed October 2020, which, with 2,611 cases recorded, had previously been the month with the most cases. Prior to this month, September 2020 had seen the most deaths added to the official toll, with 51. But that figure was shattered in August.
The grim records come as The Bahamas prepares for a general election scheduled for September 16. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ announcement of the early election threw the country into campaign season two days after officials at both major hospitals on New Providence warned that the healthcare system was on the brink of collapse.
The situation does not appear to have improved since then.
As of Friday, 164 people were hospitalized with COVID, 15 of whom were in intensive care. Twenty-four people were hospitalized on Grand Bahama and the remainder on New Providence.
Between Thursday and Friday, 153 new cases were confirmed. Of them, 133 were on New Providence; nine on Grand Bahama, three on Abaco; three on Exuma; three on Long Island, and two on Andros.
When asked over the weekend about the potential impact of election crowds on the already bad pandemic situation, Minister of Health Renward Wells sought to assure that a safe election will be held.
“It is concerning. It is challenging and we’re working through it,” he said.
“But, like I said, listen, this is the administration who [because of] our plans during the second wave when we had no vaccine … we were able to bend the curve with lockdowns. We also had curfews. We implemented the social measure. We implemented the health protocols and we brought the numbers down and bent the curve …”
Wells continued, “We now have vaccines during this third wave and we are doing all that is necessary. While we are doing all those things that we did during the second wave, we are also doing those things during this third wave to ensure that we keep the Bahamian people safe.”
During the second wave of COVID infections last year, when more than 100 people died from COVID, the competent authority, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, employed a variety of measures, including lockdowns and the closure of certain businesses, to get a handle on the situation. The third wave has already proven deadlier than the second. But while curfews are in place now, no lockdowns have been used since last year, even though many health officials have been calling for drastic measures.