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Fears total focus on Covid-19 will mean a surge in deaths from other illnesses

Thousands expected to die as treatments postponed and sick too scared of virus to go to hospital, writes Catherine Fegan

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Tough choices: Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, previously said he was worried people were ignoring signs that they were unwell. There are fears that there could be a surge in acutely ill patients once the current crisis is over.  Photo: Steve Humphreys

Tough choices: Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, previously said he was worried people were ignoring signs that they were unwell. There are fears that there could be a surge in acutely ill patients once the current crisis is over. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Tough choices: Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, previously said he was worried people were ignoring signs that they were unwell. There are fears that there could be a surge in acutely ill patients once the current crisis is over. Photo: Steve Humphreys

It was something Tony Holohan spotted himself, almost a month ago.

The Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health had gone to hospital after becoming unwell and during a short stay, he noticed unoccupied beds and empty waiting rooms all around him.

The hospital wasn't as busy as he thought it should be, he later told reporters, and he was worried people were ignoring signs that they were unwell.