Has Covid-19 tricked us again? This time it has revived under the guise of war. As we watched the spread of Ukrainian terror and turned our attention to concerns about soaring domestic prices, Covid-19 was again on a silent march.
But we shouldn’t panic. That’s the message from the government and senior health officials for now. The return of restrictions is not in sight.
It’s no wonder the public, hardwired for two years to expect a crackdown on liberties as cases and hospitalizations mount, is confused.
to look away
After two years of the pandemic and reviewing the daily numbers of infections and hospitalizations, it is to be expected that people would rather not be put back on this emotional treadmill.
Our hearts and minds are caught up in the war in Ukraine and the economic fallout here. But the numbers around Covid-19 cannot be overlooked here. 1,308 patients with Covid-19 were hospitalized yesterday. Of those, 49 are in intensive care, the highest level since April last year.
Daily cases are also increasing, although an underestimate. Almost 64,000 infections were reported from Thursday to Sunday.
The offshoot of Omicron – subvariant BA.2 – is now dominant here and has more or less taken over the virus form that afflicted us in December and January.
We know that BA.2 is more transferrable. Combine that with our behavior and the end of the face mask mandate and, unsurprisingly, more are catching it. However, it is not worse. A study in The lancet found that the original form of Omicron had a 59 percent reduced risk of hospitalization and a 69 percent reduced risk of death compared to Delta.
return to normal
ESRI’s latest behavioral tracker explores how we’re living six weeks after most restrictions were lifted in January and the face mask mandate ended on February 28. He noted a sharp drop in mask-wearing days after they were no longer mandatory in shops and public transport. Self-reported well-being is at its highest level since last summer, and there has been a slight decrease in those who said their mental health is worse than before the pandemic.
Against the background of more infections and higher numbers with Covid-19 in hospital, there is no talk of a return to restrictions. The decision-makers here keep their nerves for the time being. Why? Your greatest source of comfort is that booster vaccines hold up well to provide protection against serious illnesses. Intake is high here but around 700,000 have yet to get a booster shot – although a minority are waiting because they have had Covid-19 in recent months.
Of the patients hospitalized with Covid-19 last week, about half were there due to complications and a large proportion of those had not been stepped up. The other half were largely asymptomatic, having been admitted for another illness. In the intensive care unit, the unvaccinated made up about 37 percent who were seriously ill with Covid-19. As more people come forward for their booster shots, the protective wall against serious diseases will be strengthened.
No return from restrictions
Although restrictions are no longer in place, we still have an obligation to behave as such, particularly in the area of face mask wearing. This is especially true in shops and public transport. But there are, of course, arguments for their use in workplaces and other high-volume settings.
Governments across Europe are reluctant to further damage their economies with Covid-19 curbs as we find ourselves in a difficult period of high inflation. But hospitals coming under extreme pressure could trigger even harsher reactions. Most European countries are lifting restrictions despite the surge in cases.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/how-covid-19-has-surged-again-under-cover-of-war-and-inflation-41472403.html How Covid-19 surged again under the guise of war and inflation