US-based J’can ICU nurse seeing COVID-19 devastation, deaths up front

US-based J’can ICU nurse seeing COVID-19 devastation, deaths up front

Observer writer

Friday, July 31, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States — A California-based Jamaican intensive care unit (ICU) nurse is sounding the alarm that her countrymen, both in the United States and at home, are not taking the deadly novel coronavirus seriously enough.

“Some Jamaicans seem to be paying more attention to conspiracy theories about the virus, rather than the protocols needed to protect themselves and those around them,” Nurse Shauna Chin complained in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“From my vantage point, I have seen the devastation, the emotional stress, and the deaths which the disease has, and continues to cause,” she said, noting that the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to rise in some states which recently reopened for business.

Chin, urging her compatriots to “heed the advice of the medical fraternity and treat this disease with the seriousness it deserves”, warned that while the outbreak of the virus had slowed in some states, recent increases in Florida, California, Georgia, and Texas “is cause for serious concern”.

Florida, which is home to a large concentration of Jamaicans, has been recording an average of over 1,000 cases of the virus daily in recent weeks.

Weighing in on the matter, Wayne Golding, an attorney and member of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, said that there was real concern within the Jamaican community in Florida regarding the recent upsurge in cases of the coronavirus there.

“There is heightened fear among the older population but especially among many younger Jamaicans who are on the front line working as nurses, doctors and caregivers,” said Golding.

He said several Jamaicans in Florida have died of the novel coronavirus, but could not provide a reliable figure.

Chin, meanwhile, is urging Jamaicans in the US to pay attention to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and its protocols for handling the disease. Jamaicans at home should listen to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, she said.

To illustrate her point about the seriousness of the disease, Chin said the number of patients who had been discharged from the medical facility where she works, after receiving ICU care, is less than the number who have died.

“This is so, even after all that can be done for them have been done,” said Chin, who is a registered nurse.

She is hoping that her advice as well as that of others in the medical field will be heeded by Jamaicans, as the virus remains “active and is real, deadly and dangerous”.

Golding added that, generally, Jamaicans in Florida were taking precautionary measures, with most staying at home or working from home. But many parents and educators are worried about how schools in the state will operate when they are reopened.

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