The country faces a prolonged period of uncertainty caused by a series of extraordinary events that were largely unpredictable just a few years ago. From the Covid pandemic to the war Ukrainewhich has led to a refugee crisis amid an urgent domestic housing shortage, the public could be forgiven for being deeply concerned about the impact of these developments on their daily lives.
Here was a stark reminder last week that the Covid pandemic is far from subdued as many people contract the virus and hospitalization rates rise significantly again.
A strong case has been made for the resumption of mask-wearing in busy public places, which people should embrace immediately. Such precautions have decreased noticeably in recent weeks.
Indeed, last week the World Health Organization suggested that many countries, including Ireland, had lifted Covid restrictions too soon and too far. Government advisers, including outgoing Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan, have yet to make a case for making mask-wearing compulsory again.
At the height of the pandemic, there was occasional criticism of what has been described as the “paternalistic” nature of some of Nphet’s advice. It is now in the power of the public to make their own decisions. There is no doubt that wearing masks will reduce the spread of this latest Covid wave. The government should not hesitate to reintroduce mask requirements if the public does not respond appropriately.
The spread of Covid is expected to increase further due to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which could welcome up to 200,000 people urgently seeking refuge in Ireland.
Vaccination levels in this war-torn country are around 35 percent. Anyone fleeing to Ireland is encouraged to seriously consider vaccination here as well.
These two events – Covid and war – fuel concerns about the rising cost of living. Those costs were already increasing significantly, mostly due to supply chain issues after two years of the pandemic.
Russia’s egregious invasion of Ukraine has exposed Europe and Ireland’s energy supply shortfalls, with electricity and gas costs rising significantly this winter.
The government has introduced some measures to alleviate the hardship, but it seems likely that more will be needed later this year. Such measures should be targeted at the least affluent and those most directly affected.
Inflation forecast by ESRI last week will continue to rise in the second half of the year. This is being fueled not only by the energy crisis but also by food price inflation resulting from the war in Ukraine, often dubbed the breadbasket of Europe.
The analysis suggests these problems are getting worse before they get better, a trend that will also exacerbate the mental health problems that have already become more apparent over the past two years. dr Holohan has been an impressive and reassuring national figure of late, and he is wished well for the future.
The government, on the other hand, will need this wisdom to guide the country through events over the next year or two during one of the most extraordinary periods in our history.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/such-unstable-and-challenging-times-call-for-wisdom-41491038.html Such unstable and challenging times require wisdom