Tufton warns of triple health threat - Says COVID, dengue and flu could create perfect storm
Having spent the last few months struggling to deal with COVID-19, which has claimed more than 200 lives on the island, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says Jamaicans should brace for the triple threat of COVID-19, dengue and the flu.
Modelling done by the health ministry indicate that up to four persons could die weekly if dengue gets out of hand this year. The outlook is even more grim when the possible impact of the flu is taken into consideration. In fact, Tufton is urging Jamaicans, especially those considered most vulnerable, to take the flu vaccine, which will soon be available through the public sector and private health practitioners.
"Knowledge is power and the awareness of this triple threat is the first step to victory. The next step is to do what we know needs to be done and can be done to protect ourselves and the people we care about," Tufton said.
The minister, who dubbed the triple threat as the perfect storm, stressed that "We have it in us to overcome these threats". He said that despite the loss of more than 200 lives to COVID-19, Jamaica is handling the pandemic well. He said, too, that the country can push back against dengue if everyone plays their part to destroy mosquito breeding sites.
"What we do not want is to be overwhelmed as a public health response where people don't have access to hospital beds, doctors and nurses if they need them, because of a dengue or a flu outbreak, or indeed COVID-19," the minister said.
Tufton said that the illness caused by the novel coronavirus remains the greatest threat, adding that the seasonal flu and dengue are "not nearly as significant in their impact" but Jamaicans should not take for granted the possibility of the perfect storm of the triple threat.