Regarding Covid-19, there is a temporary lull in hostilities. The number of patients with the virus in intensive care has fallen to 18, with no new admissions on Sunday and just one yesterday.
Infection rates have also fallen in people with PCR tests.
At the same time, the HSE launched its Winter Covid-19 booster campaign, starting with an additional vaccination for all over 60 and pregnant women.
The number of people who have tested positive for Covid after a PCR test is still only an indicator of the true level of infection, but the numbers remain a good signal of general trends.
The seven-day positivity rate was down to 14.5 percent yesterday, down from 35.5 percent in mid-July. From yesterday’s 1,973 tests, 262 were positive.
There is less Covid circulating, but it is difficult to measure how many are still catching the virus. In the week of July 31-August 6, a total of 5,124 people reported a positive home antigen test, down from 5,314 the previous week.
The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital was 361 yesterday morning, which is still significant but down from 435 at the start of August and 704 on July 22. Breda Smyth said about 44 per cent of patients with Covid were in hospital were there due to complications of the virus.
The proportion whose main reason for admission to the intensive care unit was Covid-19 was 51 percent. More than a fifth of people in intensive care with the virus were unvaccinated. As of July 26, 84 Covid-related deaths have been reported for that month, with 99 in June, 122 in May and 347 in April. Overall, over 65 percent of Covid-19 hospitalizations are for people aged 55 and over.
The BA.5 version of Omicron, which was one of the drivers of this summer wave, continues to dominate here. As of now, no alarm bells are ringing about a possible new variant coming over the hill.
Autumn and winter wave
The pattern of Covid waves coming and going every few months is now well established. In autumn and winter, there will inevitably be another surge, the extent of which is not yet foreseeable.
However, combined with other respiratory illnesses, including influenza, and increasing hospital overcrowding, the World Health Organization has warned of a further rise due to declining immunity, seasonality, an increase in travel and greater indoor social mixing.
The National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) said that since the arrival of BA.4 and BA.5 this summer, the vast majority of cases are in people over the age of 50. Less than half of the hospitalized Covid-19 cases used a first booster shot and a third had not yet completed the first vaccination course.
Niac has said that immunity resulting from infection and a booster shot provide greater protection than infection alone. For the general population, with the exception of medical workers and immunocompromised individuals, there is still no evidence that they need a second booster shot to protect against serious illness. The benefit in reducing infections is likely to be small and may be short-lived.
Booster Jab updated
The UK yesterday approved the use of the first vaccine targeting the Omicron strain. Ireland will likely have to wait until next month or October before the European Medicines Agency decides to give the Moderna vaccine the green light. However, supplies could be limited at first.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/covid-summer-wave-in-retreat-as-winter-boosters-roll-out-41914042.html Covid summer wave in retreat as winter boosters roll out