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Clear directions help keep us in the Covid driving seat



Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has warned that the situation “would get worse before it gets better” as the number of Covid-19 cases is deeply concerning once again.

There is nothing like a sense of helplessness to induce hopelessness.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, much has been learned: how the coronavirus transmits, how it  can mutate, how vaccines can prevent sickness.

But all over the world, the biggest lesson has not sunk in deeply enough: our choices we make, our individual and collective behaviour, are key to human vulnerability and the outcome of the pandemic.

The fourth-highest weekly number of Covid-19 cases during the pandemic was recorded in the past week. According to the State’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn, there were more than 14,000 new cases.

He revealed there were on average three to five deaths of people with the virus each day – “very significant mortality figures”.

“The future trajectory is very uncertain,” he added. But it is in the grey areas of confusion that Covid thrives, and therefore directions and Government advice must be crystal clear. Yet there is still a troubling level of ambiguity about some key messaging on Covid, and this is unacceptable after we have been living with the virus for so long.

Expressing worries about the positivity rate among children aged five to 12, Dr Glynn recommended they avoid mixing with multiple groups over Halloween.

However, he also said that with care there was no reason why “they can’t do all the things they usually do over Halloween”.

Dr Glynn noted children tend not to get as sick as adults do. However, they can spread the infection.

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Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan was anxious to point out there is no magic way out of the current situation and we may have to live with high levels of risk for some time.

He is correct to appeal for adherence to compliance measures.

Yet in regard to the return to work and to safety protocols for children and schools, the advice is still vague.

Directions need to be clear-cut to guarantee maximum protection. With more opportunities for socialising and opening up, mask wearing and social distancing need to be maintained.

Changes can have significant results.

In the UK, we have seen infections remain stubbornly high. This may be because of the decision to lift restrictions in July.

Also, fewer people are now wearing face masks and more are flocking to crowded venues.

The number of people here who have yet to get the vaccine is also an issue.

To refuse a life jacket in a stormy sea is a choice – but it could be a costly and terrible one.

The situation need not get worse before it gets better. Amid the alarming upturn in cases, it is crucial to remind ourselves how we are in the driver’s seat – and we can still apply the brakes.

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