The current Covid wave is likely to peak next week, the immunology expert predicts

According to an expert in immunology, the peak of the current Covid-19 wave is expected next week.

Christine Loscher, a professor of immunology at DCU, said the actual number of positive cases is likely two to three times higher than those reported via PCR and antigen testing.

As of 8am this morning, 904 patients have been hospitalized with the virus, 36 of whom are in intensive care.

“I think we’re almost there, we’re probably gone for maybe a week, the positivity rate is up a bit this week but looks like it’s plateauing,” she told RTÉ Radio One Today with Claire Byrne.

“If you look at the pattern in Portugal, it’s been up for five or six weeks and we’re in the fourth or fifth week of our climb here. So, I think we’re almost at the peak and it’s going to plateau.

“Hospitals and intensive care units are going to lag a little bit, so they’re still going up, and even if our numbers and our cases plateau, we’ll probably see them up for a few more weeks.”

Prof Loscher said a decision on vaccine strategy in the winter months is a priority.

She said the pattern was that subvariants emerged every three months and that Ireland would progress from the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but it was unknown whether the next variant would be mild or not.

“There are many decisions to be made over the next few weeks regarding the new Omicron-specific vaccines that will be going to the FDA for approval from both Moderna and Pfizer over the next few weeks,” she said.

“Really, we’re at the mercy of the virus as to what happens next with its behavior, whether it’s another subvariant that’s behaving as mildly as it has been, or whether it’s going to be an entirely new variant.”

Current advice states that if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have tested positive, it is recommended that you self-isolate, even if you are fully vaccinated and refreshed, for up to 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.

If you get a positive PCR or antigen test, you must self-isolate for seven days from the date of your test or from the onset of your symptoms.

You can end isolation after seven days if you have had no symptoms in the past 48 hours.

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