Ireland is on track for a second Covid-19 surge, which may happen in the next few weeks.
That’s according to a leading immunology expert calling on the government to change its current strategy on dealing with the virus.
Ireland can suppress the coronavirus like New Zealand without further economic shutdowns according to experts.
Our current policy is to live with the virus under long-term mitigation, with the risk of surges and lock-downs until there’s a vaccine, but they say we have another option and that is to choose to eliminate this virus.
The letter says if we all work together on this island we could halt the virus like New Zealand, Australia, China and Iceland.
Over 1,000 scientists and doctors here have written to the government urging them to completely eliminate COVID-19 before a return to normal life.
They advocate the widespread wearing of masks, faster testing and contact tracing, the testing of visitors at airport and a review the lockdown are all included to ‘crush the curve’.
Trinity College Dublin’s Dr Tomas Ryan is assistant professor at the school of biochemistry and immunology. He said
“We are advocating for a scientific perspective in orientating our strategy for how we deal with COVID-19 in Ireland.
“But our motivation is to avoid lockdowns – what we want to do is avoid any further lockdowns so that we don’t have more catastrophic economic consequences.
“Currently, we are on path for a second surge – and that second surge may happen in mid-summer or it may happen in the autumn.
“That will lead to another lockdown; and we won’t have herd immunity in Ireland unless we suffer four to seven, or maybe more, of these lockdowns so that we can build up 65% infections in the population.
He outlined two options, one of which is to suppress the virus as we have been doing.
“What we’re advocating for in this letter, is to go to where New Zealand has gone [and] eliminate the virus”.
“This is where there’s a number of different ways where we could implement this.
“Some people are quite right to say we could do this with a very sharp lockdown – and by sharp I mean slightly more rigorous than what we’ve experienced, and maybe only for four weeks.”
“It could [also] be done by a hybrid approach of careful social distancing, localised lockdowns where necessary, masks and rigorous test-trace-isolate.
“So we don’t need to shut down the economy, necessarily, to eliminate the virus – we certainly do need to watch travel into the country.”
“This is our opportunity, it’s the summer – we’ve got everything under control, we don’t want to be in a situation where we arrive into September, it gets more difficult to manage because of winter, because of flu season and we ask ourselves why didn’t we do this four months ago.
“We can make hay now and we should”.