The Clifton Hill Beach. Source: Facebook

The COVID “las lap,” of August 16, which saw hundreds of Trinidadians flocking to beaches, rivers and bars prior to Government mandated closure, has been credited for a notable spike in cases.

This according to Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds who told members of the media via a virtual conference on Saturday, that figures gathered in epidemiological research have shown a spike in numbers from August 17 onwards.

The spike he attributed to the rollback in public freedoms announced by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on August 15.

The closure of beaches, bars, in-house dining and other areas were to come into effect on August 17. The interim date of August 16, was used by many to partake of the open beaches and bars before measures were enforced.

“We do see that post the recommendation on the 17, we see that we have no in house dining, no gatherings in beaches etc, there continued to be something of an uptick and then on September 2 which is approximately two weeks after the quote unquote las lap activity that preceded the closure of beaches and bars that we did have a spike that most likely corresponds to an increased number of individuals coming into contact and transmitting illness,” he said.

He added that that a downward trend since the end of July was observed, following the rollbacks in public gatherings, closures and other regulations enacted by the Government. While these rollbacks were not entirely adhered to at the beginning of August, he said that continued enforcement of these measures was followed by the decrease in cases. Additionally, the enactment of mask legislation in August he said, was followed by a decrease in transmission.

“There are a few interesting things we want to point out on the graph. We have a few arrows at different dates. We have the date at the end of July when we began to look at rolling back some of the freedoms, number of individuals gathering, to less than 10, things that we noted were necessary as we began to see an increase in the number of cases on a daily basis. This was early on and even so we do note that the recommendations to reduce gathering and congregations above the number of ten, those recommendations were not necessarily followed in the first week or so of August.”

“ Since then we have seen that downward trend and we are hoping that it continues. We do note the last point on that graph first of August where the mask legislation came in we are hoping that it has the continued effect of reducing transmission on a daily basis.”

According to Dr Hinds, The month of September has shown a continued decrease in daily positive cases.

“What we do see is that the trend in the darker blue which this the color we chose for September, appears to be going down. We do know that as we do the updates figures get revised retrospectively and we have noted that some of the tests would have been before the period of this update but even with that recurring pattern which is in itself diminishing we see there is a tendency to see fewer cases on a daily basis within the month of September,” he said.