A COUPLE days ago, I went to the Eric Williams Medical Complex at Mt Hope to collect my medicine. What I saw pleased me immensely because I had concerns about what provisions would have been made for us there.

Just outside the entrance several large tents were set up for each of the various clinics with large signs identifying them. Inside the hospital, there were hand sanitisers everywhere in plain sight.

Twenty-four hours later it was my day for the clinic at the Port of Spain General Hospital.

First, there was the pharmacy which seemed to have gotten the message. On the door a new sign was posted advising patients to sit while leaving one empty seat between them.

Inside, there are long benches which could accommodate about six persons; only three were allowed, one at each end and one in the centre.

Now on to the general area where the clinics are located. No sign of hand sanitisers. I was told there were three in one of the clinics but the clinics were closed off.

There were no signs like that which was posted on the pharmacy door. In that section patients sat as they normally did, without leaving that one empty seat between them.

When I was leaving I saw a solitary sanitiser placed where it could hardly be seen.

As Black Stalin would say, “Come wid it, Port of Spain!”

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It is a well-established truism that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

On the basis of and in recognition of this reality, conversations are taking place among various professional and sectoral elites about how not to let this moment pass without taking advantage of it.

The action taken by the Government over the past two or three weeks with respect to control and containment of the COVID-19 virus, which has been in line, by and large, with the action taken by other countries, ought to be supported if we are to weather this virulent epidemic.

The T&T public is generally satisfied with how the government has handled this Covid-19 crisis to date. On the other hand, one senses a reluctance, if not open fear, to express a contrary opinion or suggestion. Why risk being called divisive or inappropriate?

Speaking recently in New York, the state governor, Andrew Cuomo, said: “The stress, the emotion, is just incredible, and rightfully so. It is a situation that is one of the most disruptive that I have seen, and it will change almost everything going forward. It will. That is a fact. It’s not your perception. It’s not just you. It’s all of us and it’s true and it’s real. Nobody can tell you when this is going to end... It will change almost everything.”

Nerves are frayed, tempers are on the edge, patience is dissolving. In any prolonged period of stress, the psychological toll is amplified. Even those who are generally composed—the Unflappables—can slip into a crack.