By Carlos Viana, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist (US)), Traditional Oriental Medical Doctor (China)
Most of us have done our social duty by self-isolating, quarantining, and staying-at-home. As of the latest figures for Aruba, 1,626 people have been tested of which 100 tested positive for COVID19 and 1,526 tested negative. However, most probably they were tested for the active infection which is the Immunoglobulin M (IgM). If they had been tested for Immunoglobulin G (IgG), it would indicate which people had already developed COVID19 immunity.
Of those who tested positive and got COVID19 severe symptoms, two died, which is a mortality rate of 2%, one of the lowest worldwide. The Netherlands reported 11.7%1, and, as of last week, the United States has a reported, so far, the highest of any country, at 18.8%2.
Encouraging reported news, is that most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment3. One of every five New York City residents tested, showed positive for antibodies to the coronavirus. One of five people is 20% of the population. According to preliminary results described by NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on 23 April 2020, it was suggested that the virus had spread far more widely than known4.
Here in Aruba, the population today is 106,683.5 Assuming the “working age” population is between 15 and 64 years old, this is 70.3%6. That would be close to 74,998 people, many working in the tourism sector, with high possibility of exposure to the novel corona virus! If, at conservative figures, 20% percent of working Arubans have already developed antibodies to COVID19, we could test and send those 15,000 workers back to work immediately!
The recommendation here is to start testing employed individuals for COVID19 antibodies. There are laboratories here in Aruba already prepared to start testing and there are more antibody tests that are in warehouses waiting for the Aruban Public Health bureaucracy to permit testing. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “health-related information” is a human right7. We heard the ‘reason’ for the hold up on this testing, is that it must be centralized to send data to PAHO, the Pan- American Health Organization. Understandable, however, laboratories in Aruba already have sophisticated computerized programs, with private data portals, that could quickly and accurately forward the needed information to PAHO or our local office to be sent on. If, Health Information is human right, all vulnerable and working individuals in our community should be tested as quickly as possible. We have the right to have an antibody test that could indicate many of us are safe to return to work. Thus, urging the Aruban public Health Department to make testing ability a priority.