The Dutch National Institute Council for Public Health and the Environment RIVM confirmed that last month’s recent carnival celebrations on the so-called ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) did not lead to a new spike in COVID-19 cases. That spells good news for St. Maarten’s own upcoming carnival as well as the recent Heineken Regatta and SXM Festival.
Three years after its local impact was first felt one can thus conclude that the pandemic has – for all practical purposes – passed and the island is well into the endemic phase. Related restrictions have meanwhile been lifted in most of the world.
That should be no reason to now throw caution into the wind. Particularly those considered high-risk due to other health issues including a weakened immune system and/or age remain susceptible to the disease.
They must certainly keep taking care, but the same goes for anyone who has regular, close contact with them. There is no longer mandatory testing in case of symptoms and people, whether fully vaccinated or not, can also unknowingly be infected and pass the virus on to others who do get very sick.
Wearing facemasks under crowded conditions is still advisable especially indoors, such as on an airplane. And while outdoors venues are less of a “super-spread” threat, continued social distancing makes sense.
This column is in no way meant to deter persons from enjoying the season of revelry or other recreational events, just as a reminder to be smart and stay alert to the danger that’s lurking out there even today.
Better safe than sorry.