Covid hospitalizations are on the rise, but it’s unclear if a new wave is on the way

Hospitalizations of patients with Covid-19 have risen slightly over the past week, but it’s unclear if this signals the start of another wave.

255 patients with the virus were admitted here in the first week of September and that number rose to 313 in the seven days to yesterday, although the increase was mainly seen at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital and University Hospital Galway.

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus stood at 290 nationwide yesterday, up from 240 earlier this month.

Hospital admissions are being monitored for signs of an increase in virus spread because PCR testing is limited and notifications of positive results from home are unreliable.

dr HSE Chief Clinical Officer Colm Henry said yesterday a “twindemic” of Covid and flu this winter was not inevitable but urged eligible people to take advantage of booster vaccines.

The first set of Omicron Covid-19 vaccines will be rolled out from early next month, but Dr. Henry said he used his second booster with the effective existing vaccine that protects against the Wuhan strain.

The 7-day positivity rate for people eligible for PCR testing is stable at about 10.8 percent.

dr Henry said that while Australia, which has its winter our summer, had a very high rate of influenza, the increase in hospitalizations was not seen.

Two-thirds of countries have not yet reached the target of vaccinating 70 percent of their population against Covid.

Figures from Oxfam and The People’s Vaccine Alliance show Ireland ranks 28th in a global league with 81 per cent of our population vaccinated.

“It’s definitely good for Ireland, but we’ve outperformed other countries. As the United Nations General Assembly meets, we must remember that when it comes to Covid, no one is safe until everyone is safe,” said Jim Clarken of Oxfam Ireland.

“One year after world leaders pledged to vaccinate everyone, we are faced with a massive failure to do so.

“In the past year, the interests of the big pharmaceutical companies have triumphed over the health of the people at every turn.”

Around 70 per cent of the over 65s in Ireland have now had their second Covid booster vaccination after a slow start.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) – which is urging public health officials in different countries to be agile and able to respond to any winter surge – said the number of weekly new cases remained stable around the world in the week of September 12-18.

This was in comparison to the previous week, when more than 3.2 million new cases were reported.

The number of new weekly deaths fell by 17 percent compared to the previous week, with more than 9,800 deaths reported worldwide.

As of September 18, more than 609 million confirmed cases and more than 6.5 million deaths have been reported worldwide since the pandemic began.

After statements by US President Joe Biden that the “pandemic is over,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO at a press conference yesterday that “we are still threatened by new variants”.

“We don’t know if they will be more transferrable. We expect they will have more immune escape, which will make some of our countermeasures not as effective as they are now,” she said.

“We don’t know if they will be more or less severe.

“Covid-19 is not the only crisis the world is grappling with right now.”

She said WHO’s role is to end the pandemic emergency everywhere, but a collective response from all of society is needed.

Separately, the number of cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) virus, which mainly affects young children, is higher here than this time last year.

Monkeypox cases are slowing, with 177 people diagnosed here since May. Covid hospitalizations are on the rise, but it’s unclear if a new wave is on the way

Fry Electronics Team

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