New COVID-19 Delta Variant has been identified in Belize

Posted By: Marty

New COVID-19 Delta Variant has been identified in Belize - 06/30/21 09:26 PM

It was the talk of Belize today: a variant of COVID has been detected. The sample is at a facility overseas to determine just which variant it is. At this time, however, the suspicion is that it is the Delta variant , but we will only know for sure once the results are back. So what exactly does this mean? A variant spreads quickly and those who are infected are likely to experience more serious effects, reducing the effectiveness of the vaccine and treatment. Minister Michel Chebat tells us more.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health & Wellness

“Based on analysis done by the Central Medical Lab commencing on Friday last week, we are able to say that a variant of the COVID virus has now been detected in Belize. Two sets of samples were ran; twenty out of a set of thirty-five detected a variant of concern and twenty-two out of forty-seven in the second sample ran detected a variant of concern. At this time we do not know exactly which variant it is, our sample has been sent to Baylor College for gene sequencing to assist us in identifying the variant. We hope to have that information shortly. In terms of where the variant was detected local experts believe that it could be the delta strain but it is only a belief. As I said before, the swabs have been sent to Baylor College and once they are able to confirm then we will be able to come back to the Belizean public and confirm the variant that has been detected. It was detected in several parts of the country; one person was detected in Ladyville; we have detected it in the south in the Stann Creek District and also in the Orange Walk District.”

Minister of Health Says Belize Ready for Variant

And with variants being highly transmissible they can hit under-resourced and understaffed health systems very hard. And if the Delta is in Belize, it can mean a lot of pressure for Belize’s health sector. We put that to the Minister of Health, but he claims they are ready.

Andrea Polanco

“If it is Delta or whichever variant we have here, are we prepared? Is our health system prepared? Because it is highly transmissible – it means that it will be moving from person to person; it means we will have more people being sick and it will overwhelm our already fragile health system?”

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health & Wellness

“Again we have had the experience over the past few months dealing with this virus since we came into government; our health systems; our hospitals are prepared. We are ready to combat whichever variant we are experiencing right now. Clearly, the solution is getting vaccinated. We cannot overemphasize how important that it is. The AstraZeneca we have in-country is effective for this variant if that is the variant we have.”

Channel 5
Posted By: Marty

Re: New COVID-19 Delta Variant has been identified in Belize - 07/01/21 11:03 AM

Lisa M. Shoman

Many necessary health and safety measures are uncomfortable. No one likes wearing a seatbelt but it saves lives. No one likes forcing babies or toddlers into car seats but it is proven to save lives.

This isn’t anything frivolous or vexatious. Check Brazil. Check India. This is a real health crisis if we do indeed have the Delta variant.

Safety before individual personal freedom. If there are medical reasons not to vaccinate, I can understand that.

But I don’t understand vaccine resistance that isn’t science based. As a child most Belizeans got BCG vaccines. We got polio vaccines. The world eradicated smallpox with vaccines.

So where is this sudden vaccine hesitancy coming from? How did we all of a sudden become antivaxxers??

The new variant of virus detected in Belize is a potentially serious health crisis.

Vaccinate if you can, while you can.
Posted By: Marty

Re: New COVID-19 Delta Variant has been identified in Belize - 07/02/21 10:39 AM

Dr. Cuellar Says Belize is not prepared for Delta

Doctor Fernando Cuellar took issue with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ press conference on Wednesday.  He says not only was the relevant information not available to the media, but it gave the impression to the Belizean public that our local health system is prepared to take on the Delta strain. Doctor Cuellar says no country can be absolutely ready for an increase in cases brought on by the Delta variant, not even larger nations like India.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Intensive Care Specialist, Belize Medical Associates

“Is it more deadly? We do not think so. Because it is more people will catch it, more people will end up sick and, in the hospital, and more deaths will happen. And, that has been shown over the world. That is what has happened in India. And you touched on that point, and I do want to highlight it. They made it sound like we set, cool and ready for anything. That is not the case guys. You can never be ready for this thing, you can never. I think we should tell the public; we have improved. The doctors know how to manage it better. The whole world knows how to manage it better. I am sure that the government and Ministry of Health are putting things in place. But there should be no calmness to say we safe. Yesterday, the question was asked how much beds we have? How much ventilators we have? That should have been there to answer quickly. Dah nuh my job fuh say that. But the public should know that we will never be absolutely ready for increased cases.”

Delta Not More Deadly, but Very Contagious

With concern that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus may now be circulating in Belize, people are wondering if this strain is even deadlier than one we have already experienced.  But health experts say that the symptoms brought on by the Delta variant is not greater in severity.  The concern, however, according to Doctor Fernando Cuellar, who appeared today on Open Your Eyes, is that the strain is much easier to transmit.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Intensive Care Specialist, Belize Medical Associates

“Variant means a mutation, a change in the original virus. And it is happening all over the world. So, why Belize would be the unique spot where it would not happen, you know? So, concerns came about, serious concerns came about when we had discussions with the Ministry of Health that something is happening. And unfortunately, over the past seventeen months we should have already put in pathways to identify variants quickly.”

Marleni Cuellar

“Why is the whole world concerned about the delta virus?”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Because it is easier to transmit, Marleni. I mean, it is easy. The virus has mutated, it has changed. And, every virus does this. This is for COVID. Every virus does this. That is how they survive over the years. They smart, they are genetic material, they have all this thing in built in them. So, every year you must have a new flu vaccine because of the same reason. But, that is the way how viruses survive over hundreds and thousands of years. They do their own change. And, this change that happened is to ensure their survivability. The virus survives by changing and adapting. This virus does not need a lot of viruses to affect somebody else. It is more catching.”

Channel 5

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