So for comparison, the State of Alabama has about the same number of deaths as Jamaica has cases! Jamaica only has 9 deaths - Alabama has approximately 566 deaths.
So, this is good news, but is there bad news?
Yes! To achieve this tremendous reduction of cases, the government essentially locked down the whole country. Most businesses were closed. Most taxi drivers stopped running. Churches were limited to 10 people wearing masks and socially distanced. Most people who had jobs lost them. When a case of Covid-19 is discovered, the patient and frequently their families are forceably moved to the Kingston area and placed in controlled quarantine. Whole neighborhoods have been quarantined with the Army and Police monitoring the quarantine.
Curfews have been in place, such as from 3 PM until 8 AM on weekends and holidays, then 5 PM until 7 AM on workdays. People mostly have to stay at home. Apparently, they are not even allowed to walk in the street for exercise. The bars were closed as were most businesses other than essential business like food stores. Many stores with Western Union offices were closed, causing even more financial hardship for those who receive remittances.
Most Jamaicans have complied. We have talked to many Jamaicans and there was/is fear in their voices. They were seeing the news out of New York. New York has the second largest population of Jamaicans than any city other than Kingston, so many Jamaicans there were getting sick. Jamaicans know their medical care system cannot stand up to widespread Covid-19.
The bad news is that the economy has almost stopped - much more drastically than here in the U.S. People who could barely get by in the past, now are hungry and getting desperate. We started receiving calls asking if we could help buy food.
How has Isaiahsixeight been responding?
Identify Community Christian leaders:
- Pastors we know and trust
- Teachers who need to monitor children
- Soup kitchens
Provide telephone credit to leaders:
- Allow pastors to contact their congregation
- Announce worship changes and restrictions
- Check on children in poor families
- Shepherd their flocks
- Communicate with us about food distribution
Provide money to:
- Support immediate small food subsistence in an emergency manner
- Purchase food for two soup kitchens in Port Morant
- Organize pastors and leaders in Port Morant, Stokes Hall, Wheelerfield, and Rowlandsfield to work together to identify hungry people, make a list of bulk food products needed, and purchase same.
- Repackage food items into smaller bags and distribute bags of food to the poor and hungry - many who are as Paul said: "for the poor among the saints".