People of working age, especially in their 30s and 40s, are now the most likely to contract Covid-19 in this country.
New figures show that the 35-44 age group has been hit hardest – accounting for 20 per cent of infections, followed by 45-54 year olds at 18.3 per cent and 25-34 year olds with them 18.1 percent.
The trends, based on limited PCR test results, do not capture the full level of infection but do show the impact on businesses and services caused by employee absences due to the virus.
Proof that Covid is showing no mercy is in its gripping headlines yesterday as it spurred hospital admissions of patients with the virus as Ireland baked on the hottest day of the year so far.
If it can achieve such a spread, when the nation’s mind should be on holidays and not hospital numbers, what can we expect this winter?
There were 1,055 patients hospitalized with Covid yesterday morning, the highest since April, when Omicron’s BA.2 form was dominant. Although the slower-discharge weekend effect is behind some of the surge, it follows the usual pattern of a Covid wave, albeit at a slower pace this time.
The BA.5 version, and to a lesser extent BA.4, managed to spoil the summer, with hospital admissions growing more slowly this time but reaching levels that were significant at a crucial time for reducing the number of patients on the waiting list Residues caused by interference.
Ireland may be at its peak when it comes to Covid infections, but the recent surge means there is a time lag between contracting the virus and being admitted to hospital.
The numbers with the virus in the intensive care unit have also risen – from the mid-20s in June to 40 yesterday.
There is some consolation, however, that numbers with the virus in intensive care units, on ventilators, and those most seriously ill have fallen thanks to protection from vaccinations and previous Covid infections.
In early January this year, nearly 60 patients were on ventilators on a typical day, compared to fewer than 10 on a day last week.
Also, only half of the people with Covid in hospital are there due to complications and it seems most have a very short stay when admissions and discharges are to pass. In intensive care, about a third are very ill directly from the virus, others have it but have another illness. A significant number of patients also take it in the hospital.
It suggests the number of Covid patients in hospital is due to higher rates in the community rather than serious illness.
As for deaths, there was an increase in April, but the numbers are now relatively stable. There were 320 reported deaths in March, 336 in April, 108 in May and 44 reported by the end of June.
Of the patients affected by Covid, most are over the age of 65, with more than one in ten being between the ages of 50 and 64. In recent weeks there have been about 38, ranging in age from 15 to 49, with a small number of children.
Declining immunity from the first booster dose and slow uptake of a second dose in those over 65 years of age have been cited as causing a higher risk of disease in this group.
One in three hospitalized as a direct result of Covid is either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommend that people aged 60 to 79 consider a second booster shot.
But at the moment there is no clear evidence that people under the age of 60 who are not at higher risk of serious illness are given a second booster shot. There is also no clear evidence that healthcare workers or people working long-term in care homes receive second boosters early on unless they are at high risk, the agencies said.
Last April, both agencies recommended that people over the age of 80 consider a second booster shot.
However, authorities noted at the time that there may be a need to consider second booster shots in people aged 60 to 79 and in vulnerable people of any age if there is a resurgence of infections.
The agencies said that with a new wave currently underway in Europe, with rising admission rates to hospitals and intensive care units, it’s crucial health officials now consider people between the ages of 60 and 79, as well as vulnerable people of all ages, for a second booster. These could be given at least four months after the previous one, with a focus on people who received a previous booster shot more than six months ago.
Currently approved vaccines remain highly effective in reducing Covid hospitalizations,
serious illnesses and deaths associated with emerging Covid variants.
In Ireland, a second booster vaccination is offered to anyone aged 65 or over and anyone aged 12 or over who is severely immunocompromised.
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Our Covid-19 vaccines are working and providing good protection against serious illness and hospitalisation. With cases and hospitalizations picking up again as the summer season begins, I urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. There’s no time to lose.
“I call on Member States to immediately introduce second booster shots for everyone over 60, as well as anyone at risk, and I call on all eligible people to get vaccinated. This is how we protect ourselves, our loved ones and our vulnerable populations.”
dr Andrea Ammon, Director of ECDC, said: “We are currently seeing increasing reporting rates of Covid-19 cases and an increasing trend in hospital admissions and occupancy in intensive care units in several countries, mainly driven by Omicron’s BA.5 sub-line .
“This signals the start of a new widespread wave of Covid-19 across the European Union. There are still too many people at risk of severe Covid-19 infection that we need to protect as soon as possible. We must remind people of the importance of vaccination from the very first shot to the second booster shot. We have to start today.
“We anticipate that adults 60 years and older and medically vulnerable populations will require a second booster shot.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations in that country will decide whether to offer a second booster shot for the 60-64 age group in the summer or wait until the fall.
Yesterday there was good news from the EMA that it may be ready to approve a Covid vaccine that could target the Omicron variant by September. It could mean greater protection against Omicron. Ireland will get its share through EU sourcing, but it remains unclear what initial supplies will look like.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/revealed-what-age-groups-are-most-infected-from-covid-in-ireland-41832279.html Covid-19 Ireland: Which age groups are most infected in Ireland?