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Don’t throw away progress we’ve made against Covid

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Professor Philip Nolan of Nphet said we can cut risk as a population by quite strict adherence to the public health guidance. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Professor Philip Nolan of Nphet said we can cut risk as a population by quite strict adherence to the public health guidance. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Professor Philip Nolan of Nphet said we can cut risk as a population by quite strict adherence to the public health guidance. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

“HIGH force of infection is creating risks into the future and things could go in a number of different directions.” Philip Nolan, chair of the Nphet Covid modelling group, may have reasons for being circumspect.

Yet everything we have experienced in this country to date suggests, without radical changes in behaviours, the only way we are headed is backwards.

Our past failings should be all the direction we need. People may not be getting gravely ill, but case numbers are accelerating consistently.

Professor Nolan said the important thing was to reduce the risk as a population by quite strict adherence to the public health guidance, something that is clearly slipping.

In practical terms, that means taking care with our number of social contacts and observing social distancing and hygiene protocols.

The idea of ‘rationing’ the number of people we meet is no longer alien. It does not get any easier because we have been here before.

Covid has nailed one foot to the floor, and we will be going round and round in circles of contagion until we adapt and react to the new-risk environment. It would also help greatly if those who have yet to take a vaccine would reconsider,

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said there are no plans to reimpose restrictions “at present” as Covid-19 cases are not translating into hospitalisations in the same way they were before.

The “at present” is the critical phrase. If we remain on the same trajectory, we know where we will end up because we have been there before.

Fewer people may die, but far too many will be sick; our already beleaguered health services will be pushed to the brink.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has urged people to reduce their social contacts and be “more mindful” of their plans over the next week or two.

Measures introduced to prevent further spread must be enforced.

The revelation that one in four people who attended hospitality venues last weekend were not asked for their Covid certificate is an affront to all those who are struggling to keep people safe.

Socialising is currently at the highest level since the pandemic began.

Those in the hospitality sector have an obligation to be even more strict in following the rules,

The seven-day average of daily cases has risen from 1,500 four weeks ago to more than 2,600 cases currently.

It may be too early to say whether the surge in cases will end with more hospitalisations, but why wait to find out?

A return to our normal lives while still working to prevent infections is possible, but not without vigilance. We have done it before and it may chide to have to do it again, but there can be no going back.

Management of infection rates remains in our own hands. As the saying goes: “If you want praise, look in the mirror. If you want blame, look in the mirror.”


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