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COVID-19 deaths among US Jamaicans on the decline


New York, USA — The death toll among Jamaicans in the United States as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is showing signs of receding, according to usually reliable sources within the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, as well as other well-placed sources here.

Reports are also emerging of several Jamaicans who have recovered from the virus after being hospitalised.

While there still remains no official record of the number of deaths, Dr Allan Cunningham, the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council representative for the southern United States, said that 18 deaths had been reported across the region in the last few weeks. The region includes the states of Florida, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

“I don’t want to be overly optimistic,” he said, “but from all accounts there seems to be a decline in the number of deaths from the virus.”

In New York where the highest number of deaths continues to be recorded, there were reports of 11 additional deaths of Jamaicans up to the end of April. Anecdotal numbers put the overall death toll among Jamaicans here at 63.

Dr Cunningham’s assessment of a decline in the number of deaths among the Jamaican population is backed up by his counterpart in the north-east US, Dr Karren Dunkley, who told the Jamaica Observer that “all reports point to a steady decline in the number of deaths among our nationals”.

The trend seems to be similar in Georgia, particularly in Atlanta where there is a large concentration of Jamaican nationals. In a telephone interview, president of the Atlanta Jamaica Association William “Tony” Gray said he has “not had any reports of deaths within the Jamaica community resulting from the coronavirus pandemic”.

He attributed the good news to the strict adherence by Jamaicans there to the stay-at-home orders and other protocols to combat the virus.

 

Meanwhile, Dr Cunningham said there are growing concerns among Jamaicans here about the psychological strain the coronavirus pandemic is having on some.

He related a situation where a woman, who was on her first visit to the US from Jamaica, died in Florida recently, noting that “the family is devastated”. The woman had made it clear she wanted to be buried in Jamaica.

But with no flights currently going into the island, the situation had been even more painful for the family, said Dr Cunningham.

Yet it is not all gloom concerning the COVID -19 pandemic, according to several sources. Numerous reports of several Jamaicans who have contracted the disease and have either recovered or are recovering have emerged in recent days.

In Maryland, four members of the International Social Club of Maryland are now recovering at home after being hospitalised, while in Queens four members of one family, one of whom was hospitalised, have also recovered. A Florida-based father and son have also recovered after being in hospital for several days.

Last Friday, The Jamaica Diaspora Task Force Action Network held a virtual memorial service for victims of the coronavirus pandemic. The sermon was delivered by Pastor Michael Hutchinson who spoke of the need to encourage hope for those in despair and in need of help during this time.

The service was also addressed by Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Oliver Mair.

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