Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said still one in two adults are not “fully protected”, and cases could reach “900 a day” over the next three months.
Speaking this morning, Dr Glynn said the country is now dealing with a virus “twice as transmissible” as the virus this time last year, and; “We are going to see a very significant increase in cases over the coming weeks”.
He said in the UK there has been a 70pc increase week on week of cases, while Portugal have seen a 40pc increase in cases and Ireland are “a few weeks behind that”.
Dr Glynn said by September, in an “optimistic scenario” according to data, the country could experience “900 cases a day over a three month period between July 1 and the end of September”, he told Newstalk Breakfast.
He said in a pessimistic scenario, the country could be following in Scotland’s footsteps of “100,000 cases a week by July”.
“We’ve made great strides with the vaccination programme, but unfortunately, still one in two adults – is not adequately protected through vaccination,” said the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
In terms of Ireland’s modelling, he said there is “significant uncertainty – but all of the indicators we are looking at both in Ireland and internationally would suggest there is a significant wave of disease coming,” he said.
He added that there is “uncertainty” around the extent to which this variant results in more severe disease versus previous variants.
He emphasised that the “majority” of cases will arise in younger people in the coming months, and said it’s “unlikely that a healthy younger person with no undying medical conditions” will end up in ICU as a result of Covid.
“We can see from data in the UK in June that up to 15pc of people who get Covid have three or more symptoms persisting for 12 weeks or more,” he said, adding that they are suffering from a version of ‘long Covid’.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer urged those who are “fully protected to use caution in the coming week.
“Just because things are necessarily open, doesn’t mean you have to do them,” he said.
To reopen the country fully, Dr Glynn said “at least 80pc of the adult population” would need to be fully vaccinated, and NIAC are currently giving consideration to the adolescent population for vaccination.
Currently, 62.5 pc of the adult population have received a first dose, while 42,61 pc are fully vaccinated.
He said: “We have to be realistic about this. There is a wave of disease coming. Vaccination is not going change the course of that wave significantly in July or August.
“What it can do is mitigate the worst impacts of that wave from there on but we can’t wait. If we wait until the end of August to take action, then it is way too late. We have to act peremptorily and hopefully avert the worst of this wave.”