NATUC: ‘We’re still confused about covid19 deaths’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

NATUC general secretary Michael Annisette. File photo –

THE National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) remains baffled by what kinds of deaths are classified as covid19-related.

In a statement on Tuesday, NATUC called for more clarity on this matter as it maintained its opposition to mandatory covid19 vaccination and covid19 safe zones.

At a virtual health news conference on December 29, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said there were two categories of deceased patients considered as being covid19 deaths.

“Anyone that has passed away and has a covid-positive test at the time of death will be classed as covid-positive, dying with covid.”

Parasarm also said, “Anyone that would have had covid, for example, and passed away, what happens is that the clinicians make a decision. They put on the death certificate what they think is the cause of death, and that is what is generally utilised.”

Parasram said covid19 deaths consisted of “both persons dying of complications of covid, and those having a positive PCR test at the time of death.

“Generally there are two main categories – persons who would have died with covid, and those who die of covid, meaning of the complications of covid. So we have two broad categories.”

Patients dying in hospital would be covered by a death certificate from hospital clinicians.

“Persons who would have died at home, having known their status prior to death, would be classified by the district medical officer (DMO) or the attending physician, and then that data would come upstream to the Ministry of Health.

In a statement, NATUC said, “We are not doctors, nor do we have doctors in NATUC.”

Saying it based its position on common sense and spiritual guidance, NATUC claimed it did not understand the explanations Parasram gave on the categories of covid19 deaths.

The Health Ministry, NATUC reiterated, should provide a clear definition for a covid19-related cause of death, such as pneumonia or multiple organ failure. NATUC also claimed the ministry was not reporting covid19 deaths among people who have been vaccinated

At the virtual health news conference on Monday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said 12.5 per cent of covid19 deaths in Trinidad and Tobago were among vaccinated people, while 87.5 per cent of covid19 deaths were unvaccinated people.

He made this point while paying condolences to the family of calypsonian Kenny J, 69, who died on Sunday. He was fully vaccinated and one of the spokesmen in the ministry’s covid19 vaccination drive.

Deyalsingh reiterated that vaccination significantly reduces the chance of contracting covid, reduces the need for advanced medical care and reduces the chances of dying from covid19. Since the start of the pandemic last year, he said no vaccination eliminated a person’s chance of contracting or dying from covid19.

NATUC reiterated that its claims that the ministry’s covid19 news conferences were public-relations stunts and indisputable, empirical data was needed before the Government proceeds with plans to establish public-sector covid19 safe zones and to furlough public-sector workers who choose not to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons.