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Employees and visitors wearing protective masks walk past an electronic stock board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in Shanghai, China

Employees and visitors wearing protective masks walk past an electronic stock board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in Shanghai, China

Bloomberg

Employees and visitors wearing protective masks walk past an electronic stock board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in Shanghai, China

While Covid-19 may well be a quite serious viral infection, are we not over-reacting just a little?

There are approximately 110,000 people infected to date and perhaps 4,000 deaths. Put that against world population figures and gun crime victims or alcohol-related deaths.  The most worrying thing about Covid-19 is the cost to the economies of the world, not the very few deaths that will occur.

Our society will have a vaccine within 12 months but the world's economies will take three to five years to recover.

David Ryan Drumree, Co Meath   

Self-isolation is nothing new for those seeking employment

SELF-ISOLATE has dragged itself from dictionary obscurity to becoming the latest buzzword. But Covid-19 cannot claim ownership of this action. Those of us looking for employment have endured a state of self-isolation for years.

Without a regular income, it is very difficult to take part in society.  A lack of coin means partaking in social activities like going to the cinema, eating  out or taking a holiday is not an option.  Money is simply not there for a person to leave their house in order to have a social outing. In addition, lack of employment means a person's social circle is reduced, thus reducing daily or weekly contact with people. Due to an economic reason self-isolation is imposed.

Despite a person's best efforts, getting employment in this country is difficult. Within this area, the quality of the jobs and the terms of employment currently on offer are poor.  The career route within an industry has been paved over.

Built on it are jobs that offer short working hours, elastic employment duties and a bias towards the single-use worker. Adding to the job pap are the various government-sponsored employment schemes.  These legally allow employers to obtain employees without the nuisance factor of offering a long-term employment commitment.  Self-isolation has been a reality for employment seekers in this country for years. A public health emergency may have given it a new coat of paint but its ethos remains the same; people isolating themselves from society because of circumstances out of their control.

John Tierney Ashtown, Fews, Co Waterford

Virus should make us focus on a bigger killer - malaria

THE spread of Covid-19 is shocking. The reporting in the media is very professional. Might the time now be opportune to also highlight that for decades 10,000 people die each week of every month of every year and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future from malaria? This is primarily a developing world disease that affects populations who rarely can afford to move far from their areas of residence. Sadly, large numbers of children are included in the huge numbers who die each week. The development of a vaccination continues to be elusive.  Investment in research is badly needed.

Professor Tom O'Donoghue The University of Western Australia 

Healthcare workers must be protected for our own good

IN January, my eyes were firmly focused on China where a sibling lives, as I asked what precautions were in place and what precautions they themselves were taking.  The answers were resolute. Social distancing was the norm, working from home and food delivery had been adopted and when the rare need arose to travel into the community, there was no risk-taking. Personal hygiene had been ramped up and the assumption anything and anyone could lead to transmission was accepted. I was happy with these answers.

My sibling was protected as much as possible and should an infection arise, China had the capability of caring for them within their health system.  Fast-forward a few weeks and my attention is also fixed here. In the weeks ahead, tough decisions will have to be made and I fear we'll become a nation of two sides, those unwilling to accept or adopt change versus those who need people to adopt change. Remove the debates and the true focus is simple. Our healthcare workers.

Our lives will depend on them and so they are the ones who will need to be protected at all costs. If those costs include the rest of us avoiding mass gatherings or amending social routines, then those are steps everyone will need to take. 

Marie Hanna Curran Ballinalsoe, Co Galway 

What are the rules if those on bikes don't use cycle lanes?

DRIVERS should allow cyclists at least 1.5 metres of space when passing them. Can anyone tell me if this applies when the cyclist is cycling on the road BESIDE a cycle lane?

Eamon Ward Co Wexford

Irish Independent