Another two deaths are being attributed to the COVID-19 virus, bringing the number confirmed to 25.

The Medical Director of the Mount St. John Medical Centre (MSJMC), Dr. Albert Duncan,  confirmed this morning, March 10, that two women – aged 61 and 88, respectively – succumbed to complications associated with the virus, after testing positive for the disease.

He says both women had underlying health conditions and passed away yesterday, March 9, at 2:19a.m. and 11:46p.m., respectively.

Expressing her disgust at the rising death toll, D.Gisele Isaac, Chairperson of the United Progressive Party, called Progressive FM this morning.  She points out that neighbouring countries have also been affected by the COVID-19 virus, but their rates of death do not mirror that of Antigua & Barbuda.

Isaac says the excuse of “underlying conditions” cannot be used to justify the number of deaths.  She notes – as she has done several times before – that most Caribbean people live with these conditions; they do not “suddenly drop dead” from them.

Accordingly, she is questioning the management of the disease here.  “What is it that we are NOT doing in Antigua & Barbuda?” she asks REAL News.  “What are the other islands – like Dominica, St. Kitts, Grenada – that we are not?”

Isaac says it cannot be the “easy excuse” of returning nationals not respecting quarantine.  Instead, she says the authorities have “dropped the ball on policing quarantine,” since – up to now – exceptions are being made by the Health authorities.

She believes it is past time for the public to demand answers and changes to the system, particularly since the Ministry of Health is running out of AstraZeneca vaccines.

Scores of persons reported, on Monday, that they had been turned back from the vaccination sites since doses of the drug are running low.

Given that the authorities do not know when a fresh batch will arrive, and given the rising death rate, Isaac says too many citizens and residents will be left unprotected in the immediate future.

She reminds REAL News of the number of suspected COVID-19 deaths that took place in early 2020, with the authorities claiming they all succumbed to underlying conditions. 

“Nobody believes that anymore,” she says.

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