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Persons with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other chronic non-communicable disease are at greater risk of death as a result of the novel coronavirus – COVID-19.

At a press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday, where St. Vincent and the Grenadines announced its first case of the illness, Dr. Jose Davy, the infectious diseases specialist in the Ministry of Health, said that special attention must be paid to persons in these categories.

“Yes, the persons at risk we want to be paying special attention to: our diabetics because being diabetic you’re already immuno-suppressed. Also at-risk will be the elderly as we heard, persons with high blood pressure and persons with cardiovascular disease,” she said.

Davy continued:

“And this risk increases because of the pneumonia that comes with COVID-19. So those are our most almost at-risk population.”

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She said that children under 9, “thankfully have not been so affected.

“We expect children to be severely ill with this disease. But this is not happening. And we thank God for that.”

Regarding keeping one’s self safe from COVID-19, Davy advised proper hand washing techniques, adding that a video had been released about how to wash one’s hands properly with water and soap.

“Don’t touch your face. Cough etiquette: cough into a tissue; discard. It sounds like almost a [broken] record now, everything that we have said, but we have to keep saying it.

“If you’re a diabetic, do your best to keep your blood sugar under control. Hypertensive: Take your medicine; this is not the time to leave it in the cupboards. Please take it. If you have a cardiovascular disease, ensure that everything is under control,” Davy said.

And, Patsy Wyllie, chief health promotion officer in the Ministry of Health, told the same press conference that her ministry has had the support of physician Dr. Jerrol Thompson who has met with persons living with HIV.

“… so that education is going on,” Wyllie said.

“Also, we’ll be meeting with our diabetics and hypertensives. There are associations throughout our health districts. So we have started and we’re going to continue to work with them.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne noted that “only persons who are very old and by very old, we basically mean over 80” or those with underlying health conditions “are really especially vulnerable” to COVID-19.

“… and this makes it, as far as its epidemiological profile is concerned, something comparable to flu and other ailments that we have a lot of experience with,” he said.

“So what we’re saying here is that we could draw on our vast experience in some of these other areas to make sure that we try to keep this COVID-19, this coronavirus in check.”

Browne said that that is what his government is doing.

“That’s why we’re reinforcing some standard practices that we have learned almost from time immemorial, that could be applied to minimize the spread of infection,” Browne told the press conference.

He continued: “So we really want to commend that to you in the public and to assure you that we will continue to monitor the situation with a view to best manage risk, protect your safety and at the same time, ensure that we could continue with our regular lives in as best a way as possible.”

5 replies on “COVID-19 in SVG: Diabetics, hypertensives, heart patients at greater risk”

  1. Dissenting from Health Minister Browne’s most foolish statement, this COVID-19 is most certainly not just “something comparable to flu and other ailments.” It is much, much worst! Hence the various declared emergencies around the world.

    Spain has now declared coronavirus emergency as cases there soar by a third overnight to 5,753 – with 3,000 in Madrid alone – and panic-buyers strip shelves bare.

    And here is a another thing for us to consider, the “Coronavirus was able to bypass quarantine lockdown in Wuhan after mutating into second strain that caused mild or no symptoms in its early stages, say scientists in China. A second strain of coronavirus showed mild or no symptoms in the early stages.

    It comes as epicentre of Covid19 shifted from Asia to Europe, with 36,929 case. Knowing that the virus can mutate may make it harder to keep track of or to treat”.

    Meanwhile “Russia shuts multiple land borders while New Zealand introduces toughest border restrictions in the world and Italy prepares to close parks as battle against coronavirus pandemic continues” So are we as a nation really truly preparing properly.

    Those overcrowded Transport Vans and well-cleaned health facility should be of particular concern for us in addition to border controls.

  2. nancysauldemers says:

    I’m wondering if the Honourable Minister of Health has added up what # or % of the SVG population is “especially vulnerable?” If we add up the # or % of elderly and those with diabetes and those with high blood pressure and those with cardiovascular disease and those with HIV or any other chronic non-communicable disease what is the total?

  3. The problem with these press releases they never contain quite enough to be useful. Yes a suppressed immune system is a weakness in fighting off the virus. But in SVG we have a high incidence of Asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic respiratory conditions that causes difficulty breathing due to inflammation of the airways. Any one with these problems is at a very serious risk if they catch the virus.

    People inevitably die from pneumonia when they catch the Corona virus. People who smoke are many more times at risk of death than those that don’t.

    Please for heavens sake lets have the whole picture not half.

  4. This is what happens when you.put a square peg in a round hole. Luke Brown doesn’t have a clue. He is in over his head.

  5. Well NANCYSAULDEMERS many here would share your very wise sentiments but who are we when it comes to policies. But be careful too it is not just the old or Persons with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other chronic non-communicable disease who are at risk, that is, going by the Iranian example, as their young median population grapples with their rising death numbers.

    “In total, 724 people have died in Iran and there are 13,338 confirmed cases, though questions about the government’s transparency suggest the real figure could be even higher.”

    “A leading Iranian official has admitted that hospitals in the country could be overwhelmed by the coronavirus after a record 113 deaths and 1,209 new cases were reported in just 24 hours.
    It was the first time that more than 100 people had died from the virus in a single day in the Islamic nation”.

    Moreover the Americans, the Europeans and the Asians would wholeheartedly agree with you. See how they have imposed restrictive travel.

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