That’s when I thought our family was out of the Covid forest, and then Claire Byrne’s radio show burst my bubble.
Two things I learned were that Omicron’s sister – the new BA2 variant – gets around more than Omnicron, and it’s official that you can get this variant twice – which almost made me drop my cauldron when I heard Paul Reid confirm this on Monday.
I already knew half of this when my five-year-old was positive after Covid in January last week, but I had put that down to a dodgy test. Does that mean his siblings could also be coming home from school with Covid seconds?
And yesterday Luke O’Neill told us the subvariant was possibly our most contagious virus – aside from measles or smallpox – so I knew my days as a Covid holdout were numbered, so that was more disruption.
Some families were super efficient as everyone got it together but Covid took the slow burn with us with one person testing positive every two weeks. Thankfully no one was off for more than a day or two, but it was a real agony.
Prof O’Neill predicted yesterday that this subvariant would peak in early April, but what then? OKso fewer cases in the summer but after that everyone gets it again?
Six months ago it came as a shock when someone you knew tested positive but now Covid cases are pounding out of our ears. It’s not a big deal for most people, but it still means your life has to stop.
Despite rising cases, few are becoming seriously ill which is why people are not freaking out, but still feel the current high prevalence warrants an official response.
It would be great to get some sort of information night on what lies ahead in our future of ‘living with Covid’. Outline plans, as far as they can be outlined, for minimizing disruption and serious illness.
Can we bring Tony Holohan back for a one off special?
Vaccines remain a bright spot and Prof O’Neill mentioned next-generation vaccines that could work against all coronaviruses and protect against serious diseases.
He also said something interesting about childhood vaccines as they could help curb the spread.
Unfortunately, the government missed its window here by not giving already reluctant parents incentives at the start – like no need to isolate when it was a requirement of household contacts.
Now that half the children got Covid and only a few were very ill there is even less incentive so any briefing could emphasize Prof O’Neill’s point. And it would be worth spelling out more clearly why those with two shots who caught Covid should get a boost.
For those who haven’t received jabs so far, is it time to offer a Dunnes coupon or something to get them over the line? It would be cheaper in the long run.
I would also like to know when we can expect to be away from home for a week if we get Covid but only have symptoms for a day or two.
Is the answer simply to stop testing? I mean there should be surveillance tests to keep track of variants, but when can we go back to the “feel sick stay home” policy for the general population?
Covid is causing a lot of disruption in healthcare as many are unemployed due to Covid not sick but have to stay home for five days. So can that change? At least in some areas, of course not for those who work in oncology wards, for example.
We have to decide what is best for the patients. Ideally, we do not want health workers to pass on severe infections to patients, but staff shortages are also a major risk.
And could we get specific details on who is at risk even after the fourth sting? Trials are currently taking place in the UK, like the Panoramic, which are open to anyone over 50 and adults with an underlying health condition if they test positive.
The research aims to find out whether new antiviral treatments for Covid-19 in the community reduce the need for hospitalization and help people recover faster. We should join that too.
Prof O’Neill said those at risk should wear an FFP2 mask and he would prefer masks indoors until the summer, but people have moved away from Covid and are enjoying that sentiment.
An ESRI study found how much the lifting of restrictions increased our happiness. Even if the WHO said yesterday we did it too quickly, it seems unwise to us to take a step back in our well-being, especially when masks will not stop the spread anyway.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization has also called for a return to mask wearing. At morning ireland, Secretary-General Phil Ní Sheaghdha said hospitals were overwhelmed with 570 patients on trolleys on Monday due to Covid.
But there are plenty of pre-pandemic trolley stories. A one-second online search revealed a day in January 2019 when hospitals were unable to find beds for 541 patients.
With the sun back out and masks off, most of us feel like we’re moving on, but with cases nearing record-breaking yesterday, this pesky subvariant is a reminder that Covid will never go away.
An official heads-up on what happens next would be welcome.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/sub-variant-reminds-us-covid-is-not-going-away-we-need-to-know-what-happens-next-41476359.html The sub-variant reminds us that Covid isn’t going away – we need to know what happens next