By David Lubofsky
The spread cannot be stopped with lockdowns. Let's divide the island into 4 groups; military, those that live below the poverty line, those that have connections or are in government and the rest of us.
In normal times, Guam's poverty line is around 13 percent of the population, but with covid I bet it is pushing 20 percent easy. Most of us here online with our great ideas and preaching what to do, including the governor and her medical Board minions, do not fall below the poverty line, nor I contend really understand the dynamics truly of poverty.
As a former Guam social worker, I can tell you that most of us and especially our leaders are totally out of touch with the super poor on Guam and have no idea how they struggle. Will the government send truckloads of food to these people or baby milk etc. before lockdown starts? Of course not, so how do we expect these people to stay home with starving children and a need to go out and take care of their families. You cannot and they will not rightfully stay home or not go to other houses etc. I have heard people say we all need to stock up for 2 weeks and shut down. Sorry, those that cannot even afford to be online to give input or our most needy on island do not have money for one day, never mind two weeks.
Then you have the military. While GMH and our health care system is rightfully freaking out due to increase of covid cases and being overwhelmed, the military, not beholding to the people of Guam, lowered their covid restrictions and the governor has no control. Military are on the beaches and all over the island in groups often with no masks etc. not following any local protocols. Can you close the bases? They live here also. If you cannot control these folks, the spread continues.
Then we have those who are connected to the governor that think rules are not for them. We have already seen many instances of this. Leading by example means everyone without exception should be in lockdown. Does anyone reading this think that will be the case based on experience from what we have seen? Not me.
The rest of us discuss and argue what is best and are led by the governor and her medical board minions, but other Guam doctors have voiced disagreements with what has been done or planned. Who do we listen to when the Governor has closed meetings to discuss Covid with these people, which I cannot understand?
The island isn't under control by those who tell us what to do as far as covid is concerned, unless the needs of all are met, especially the poor and all including the military are on the same page. Let us face it, 8 percent of the Island and maybe higher are infected now, tested or not, so we as individuals must protect ourselves as the current system has already failed.
The dam has broken. A lockdown may help push numbers down for a short time only and alleviate stress temporarily at GMH, but will not eradicate covid and will destroy the economy, while increasing deaths from non covid events such as suicide etc.
A quick search online shows lockdowns have not achieved the required results in other places. The primary super spreader of Covid now is said to be social gatherings and in-family spreading. Lockdowns are a catalyst for in-family spreads and pushes people together who need each other for support, especially those living in poverty.
I am not against anything that saves lives, including lockdowns, but on Guam a lockdown cannot be fully achieved.
David Lubofsky is a resident of Tamuning.