The true number of new Covid-19 cases is likely to be in the “hundreds of thousands” a week and Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said “serious” new restrictions would be needed to bring the recent spike under control.
Nearly 40,000 cases have been reported through home PCR and antigen testing in the past three days as the highly contagious BA2 variant rips through the country. However, this is probably a gross underestimate of the true extent of the infections.
At a private meeting with members of the Fianna Fáil party tonight, Mr Donnelly reiterated that the advice of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan states that there is no need for new restrictions at this time.
“The subvariation that we’re dealing with now is very, very contagious,” he said.
“The kind of measures you would need to radically reduce the spread would really be pretty serious measures.”
However, he said there was “real stress” in the already strained hospital system.
“If we register 10,000 to 15,000 cases a day through PCR and antigen testing, you can be sure that the real numbers are many times that,” he said.
“We are currently looking at most likely several hundred thousand new Covid cases per week, which is a very high number.”
He said this was causing “real stress” on the hospital system as while there were over 1,600 Covid-19 patients in hospital, only about 800 were in hospital for Covid-19 and the rest were asymptomatic.
There is “a tremendous amount of pressure on the system” with all the extra beds being full, Mr Donnelly said.
He said that PCR and antigen testing has been scaled back and that testing centers have also recently been scaled back.
Vaccination center leases have also expired in some parts of the country and Mr Donnelly said the government is currently working on a medium and long-term plan to put in place response plans if needed.
He said there could be an annual Covid-19 vaccine program that could be rolled out at some point of the year.
The health secretary also said the government is working on plans to quickly roll out more doses of the vaccine if needed, or a variant-specific vaccine.
https://www.independent.ie/news/covid-19-several-hundred-thousand-new-cases-per-week-as-stephen-donnelly-warns-serious-new-measures-would-be-needed-to-reduce-surge-41497145.html Covid-19: “Several hundred thousand” new cases a week, Stephen Donnelly warns, “serious new measures” would be needed to reduce surge