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How many will die of Covid-19, Taoiseach?

Leo Varadkar's alarming prediction of likely deaths in Ireland from coronavirus only raises more questions, writes Eilis O'Hanlon


The Taoiseach's "I need to speak to you about coronavirus" speech in Washington was eloquent, measured and statesmanlike, calming nerves across the country ahead of what may be a time of national emergency.

That doesn't mean the actions and statements of the Taoiseach should be immune from scrutiny and criticism. If anything, it's all the more important as we move to a new phase of crisis management to ensure that everything which is said and done to halt the spread of coronavirus is properly explained to people and backed with evidence.

The Taoiseach would appear to agree, having moved to reassure people earlier last week that decisions would be taken only on the basis of "science and evidence and public health advice from the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] and the National Health Emergency Team", and not made "on foot of pressure from business or politics or media or social media".