Like it or not, the specter of a “twindemic” – flu and Covid-19 Mark 8 – hangs over us as surely as the coming winter is in sight.
My eye fell on Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly’s stance on the mask issue Sunday independent.
He said mandatory masks would not be considered, but added that everyone using public transport should wear a face covering as the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, which have now exceeded 400, increases.
Asked about the possibility of strict public health restrictions being reintroduced this winter, the minister said: “There is no expectation that we will do so.
“I have no advice on that. There was no discussion of this and there is no expectation that this will happen.”
It was reminiscent of a predecessor in that important ministerial post, one Charlie Haughey, whose “Irish solution to an Irish problem” on contraception was, in theory, that someone in that department who was feeling frisky needed a doctor’s prescription and marriage license to get a box of condoms.
Let’s call it a “definite maybe” so far. Masks should always be worn – but if not, I’m sure you know your own way.
Now you would be keeping the bookies odds very slim that that will change fairly soon if, as is likely, hospitalizations for Covid and flu increase in the coming weeks.
No harm to Minister Donnelly, especially in this case.
Mandatory masks are a bleak prospect and we have all been through the Covid years of 2020-2021 thinking one thing at breakfast, another at lunch and the exact opposite at tea time.
Nevertheless, unfortunately I rather fear that the masks will soon be back in public places.
I insist that not everything is doom and gloom. The combination of vaccinations and previous infections means we head into this winter with higher levels of antibodies to protect us from the worst effects of Covid-19.
Fortunately, hospitals also have better medicines and more beds to care for people affected by the virus. The question about the flu may be less positive.
After two years of reduced contact and masking, our immune system is more susceptible to infection in that area. With Covid-19 still circulating, some doomsayers suggest an explosive mix could ensue, though the “lodges” insist it’s headed for the gate.
With all that said – and considering what we’ve been through together – it might not be an exaggeration to reintroduce mask requirements in public places where people gather in large numbers, such as on public transport.
The Brussels online news service, Politically, spoke yesterday to Peter Piot, former head of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He advises the European Commission on Covid and his strong message was that it is not over yet.
“Hospitals are seeing more and more cases, but not yet in the intensive care units,” said Dr. piot.
“I am very concerned that this will put a huge strain on the healthcare system.”
The microbiologist said to increase the number
People in vulnerable categories who got their second booster shot – or as he thinks
It should now be pointed out that their seasonal vaccine – will be key.
Data from the EU health agency shows less than 20 per cent of adults over 60 have received the extra dose of Covid vaccine. It seems shockingly low. So, masking appears to have a strong potential public health role in the coming months.
Retreating indoors can help halt transmission of both the flu and Covid-19 and avoid a return to the gloom of total lockdown.
People in the privileged position of being able to work from home who get a cold should avoid going to work.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/wearing-a-mask-will-soon-be-a-question-for-all-of-us-as-the-winter-covid-wave-rolls-into-view-42077934.html Wearing a mask will soon be a question for all of us as the wintry Covid wave rolls in sight