The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has defended his now much-remarked upon weekend tweet about crowds in Dublin drinking on the streets, which sparked intense debate, when he was criticised for saying scenes were “something to behold“. The tweet generated huge volumes of responses.
Dr Holohan said the scenes on South William Street were like “Jones’s Road on the day of an All-Ireland” at today’s NPHET briefing.
When questioned by a reporter about his tweet over the weekend, the Chief Medical Officer said: “If the council had set about organising an event, they couldn’t have squeezed more people in. It’d be the perfect environment for outdoor transmission. For us to highlight that wasn’t a moral judgement. We have to make judgement in relation to the science about what shapes the transmission of this disease.
“We have taken a cautious but ambitious path through the public health measures. New measures are in today. Another will come in June – this is because the public have stayed compliant. What represents a risk to all of that is if the public gets ahead of itself.
“The majority are staying with the guidance but we have to express concern when we see non-compliance and the risk attached to the Delta variant and its transmission. We have to try and reinforce that careful but ambitious path.”
Asked if NPHET are losing public support, the CMO added: “I don’t think we’ve lost the public. I think the public is with us. Data shows that many people are waiting until vaccination to re-engage with the normal social and economic activity.
“But we need to reinforce the basic things – the basic things work. Protect yourself with these very simple measures. What we now have is augmenting that with vaccination. We’re a long way through those at most risk and we’re working our way through lower risks now, with 40-44 year olds being called for registration today.”