We know that pandemics play tricks on the mind and everything else. But with the Department of Health recording another 24,000 Covid cases, it feels like we’re experiencing deja vu and amnesia at the same time.
A key difference compared to previous waves is the lack of top-down guidance for each challenge. For two years there was no facet of our lives that was beyond the reach of health officials and government experts.
Perhaps they are biding their time, or are just aware of the necessarily invasive role they previously had to play.
However, the unspoken rule seems to be: restrictions should not be reintroduced until hospitals reach capacity. More clarity on this matter might be valuable as the trajectory is increasing so worryingly. According to INMO boss Phil Ní Sheaghdha, the latest variant – dubbed BA2 and known to be 30 percent more contagious than Omicron – is already causing dismay among hospital staff and patients.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” she told RTÉ. The high level in the community creates a “very unsafe situation” and she called for masks to be restored.
Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, believes BA2 “may be the most contagious virus we’ve ever seen”.
Due to its unique properties, the professor even went so far as to suggest that it might now be almost impossible to avoid.
He too believes that people should continue to wear masks indoors. Apparently the government is reluctant to act without medical advice.
However, with the number of cases rising daily, as well as the number of trolleys at A&E centers, some guidance on what’s best might be in order.
It remains to be seen whether we lifted the restrictions too early, as indicated. With care and the appropriate advice, there should be no reason to revisit the harrowing scenes from before.
New treatment options are emerging every day, but testing needs to be stepped up, Prof O’Neill noted. “The good news is that the vaccine wall around the world is solid and really protecting us.”
Yes, BA2 is more contagious. Considerably. But despite its accelerated portability, there are two other important considerations.
According to US experts, it does not cause more serious diseases compared to the original Omicron strain, known as BA1, nor does it evade immunity from vaccines.
US research showed that people on booster doses produced antibodies to BA1 that were as potent as BA2.
But it makes it clear that people urgently need to get their third Covid shot and, for those who are susceptible, a fourth shot.
We all need to recognize the need to manage our own personal risks. As long as we do that, we can be expected to do much better than before.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/as-cases-surge-again-some-guidance-might-be-in-order-41476354.html If cases pick up again, some guidance might be in order