Dangerous mixed messages - EntornoInteligente
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At all times, in­for­ma­tion about COVID-19 should be han­dled in a trans­par­ent, eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble and or­der­ly way. This is al­most as crit­i­cal as car­ry­ing out more of the test­ing, trac­ing and track­ing which will al­low T&T’s pub­lic health ex­perts to keep up with its spread so that they will even­tu­al­ly get ahead of it. The hard work be­ing done by these pro­fes­sion­als can be com­pro­mised by con­flict­ing state­ments from politi­cians which can lead to con­fu­sion, com­pla­cen­cy and dis­re­gard of health mea­sures in­tend­ed to keep all safe

Mau­vais langue and pi­cong have long been part of this coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal cul­ture and there are very few top­ics that are off-lim­its to can­di­dates and their sup­port­ers. Our ap­peal to­day is for COVID-19 to be added to the list of sub­jects to be treat­ed with a high­er lev­el of sen­si­tiv­i­ty by all on the hus­tings.

The mixed mes­sages on the pan­dem­ic from peo­ple in po­si­tions of lead­er­ship and in­flu­ence can po­ten­tial­ly put the coun­try in a dan­ger­ous place. The Unit­ed States and Brazil are near­by ex­am­ples of how the coro­n­avirus can gain footholds when im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion about safe and healthy prac­tices are dis­tort­ed by po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing and twist­ing of facts.

Any­thing said or done that de­tracts from the im­por­tant mes­sages about the virus are to be stu­dious­ly avoid­ed. Mak­ing the dis­ease the sub­ject of care­less cam­paign rhetoric on­ly serves to triv­i­alise an is­sue that for our more vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens, is a mat­ter of life or death.

At all times, in­for­ma­tion about COVID-19 should be han­dled in a trans­par­ent, eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble and or­der­ly way. This is al­most as crit­i­cal as car­ry­ing out more of the test­ing, trac­ing and track­ing which will al­low T&T’s pub­lic health ex­perts to keep up with its spread so that they will even­tu­al­ly get ahead of it. The hard work be­ing done by these pro­fes­sion­als can be com­pro­mised by con­flict­ing state­ments from politi­cians which can lead to con­fu­sion, com­pla­cen­cy and dis­re­gard of health mea­sures in­tend­ed to keep all safe.

One of those avoid­able sit­u­a­tions was cre­at­ed sev­er­al weeks ago by Dr Fuad Khan, a med­ical prac­ti­tion­er and for­mer health min­is­ter, who de­scribed the ad­vice to use face masks as rub­bish. Al­though he sub­se­quent­ly com­plied with that re­quire­ment dur­ing sit­tings of Par­lia­ment, Dr Khan’s com­ments would have en­cour­aged some to dis­re­gard ad­vice that is based on sol­id sci­en­tif­ic and med­ical re­search.

There have al­so been mixed mes­sages from Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar, who, in de­fend­ing the cause of T&T na­tion­als strand­ed abroad, com­pared their sit­u­a­tion with two of the most painful ex­pe­ri­ences in our his­to­ry – slav­ery and in­den­ture­ship.

Al­so of con­cern are those pre­ma­ture claims of suc­cess with COVID-19 from var­i­ous mem­bers of the Dr Kei­th Row­ley ad­min­is­tra­tion which have led to the pub­lic com­pla­cen­cy.

These in­con­sis­tent state­ments on the mer­its of wear­ing face masks, hand wash­ing and phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing are dan­ger­ous.

Every­one fac­ing the polls on Au­gust 10 should heed World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) Di­rec­tor-Gen­er­al Tedros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­son’s re­cent warn­ing about mixed mes­sages send­ing many coun­tries “in the wrong di­rec­tion” with the pan­dem­ic.

And it is not on­ly about what they say but what they do. The wrong mes­sage is be­ing sent by can­di­dates who don’t en­sure the peo­ple ac­com­pa­ny­ing them on walk­a­bouts and at meet­ings wear masks and main­tain so­cial dis­tanc­ing as they in­ter­act with prospec­tive vot­ers.

Con­sis­ten­cy in mes­sag­ing and un­am­bigu­ous ac­tions are the on­ly ways to en­sure com­pli­ance that will de­feat COVID-19, a glob­al pan­dem­ic that makes no dis­tinc­tions about where it will strike. There­fore, the fight against the coro­n­avirus re­quires com­plete non-par­ti­san sup­port.

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