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Five things we learned from last night’s Nphet Covid briefing

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Tony Holohan

Tony Holohan

Tony Holohan

Tonight’s briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team heard calls for increased adherence to “basic” public health guidance, as well as an admission by chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan that vaccines alone are not enough to disrupt high transmission.

Here are the five main things we learned tonight:

Dr Holohan calls on everyone to do more

CMO Dr Holohan said people need to “do more” to stick to the public health guidance.

New research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that 20pc of people said that they “rarely or never” wear a mask, socially distanced or sanitised their hands while out and about.

He said individuals as well as businesses and their employers need to stick to the public health guidance.

He said that there has been “slippage” in things like mask wearing and social distancing.

“We need to do more - it might not be a huge amount more, collectively as a population, but it is going to be each one of us asking ourselves the question as members of the population - are we each doing as much as we reasonably can do?”

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Vaccines alone not enough

Despite very high vaccine uptake, Dr Holohan said that “precautionary measures” such as Covid passes and mask wearing will remain throughout the winter.

“It’s not going to turn on vaccination alone. Clearly, vaccination alone is not going to be enough to turn around transmission,” said Dr Holohan.

“It’s very clear that no country can dispense with a reliance on some non pharmaceutical interventions, some level of good behaviour in terms of public health and some protections like Covid passes and things like that to add to the bonus and the benefit that comes from vaccination,” he said.

Elective procedures being cancelled

In a presentation to the briefing, Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said that there is “significant” pressure on hospitals due to Covid infections.

There has been a 27pc increase of patients in hospital over the past fortnight, with 503 recorded this morning and the number in ICU now at 101.

Elective procedures are now being cancelled as a result.

"We are seeing significant pressure on our hospital system as a result of the profile of disease at present. We're seeing cancellation of elective activity. We're seeing significant staff absences,” he said.

42pc of patients in ICU were vaccinated

There were 42pc of patients in ICU yesterday who were fully vaccinated (41 patients).

6pc were partially vaccinated and 52pc were not vaccinated at all (50 patients).

There are five patients who either are currently or were recently pregnant and none of them are vaccinated.

Dr Holohan said that Nphet is concerned of rising levels of transmission and said that “collectively, as a country” we need to look at how we are adhering to how public health measures.

Numbers are going up

Nphet said tonight that the incidence of the virus is growing at a “concerning rate”.

The highest incidence is in children aged 5 to 12.

Test positivity is increasing along all age groups and the reproductive R number currently stands at less than 1.5.

“That’s enough for this pandemic to continue growing at a concerning rate.”


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