Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has told the Dáil that Ireland has seen an extraordinary drop in the numbers of deaths due to Covid-19 in the second wave of the disease. Speaking during a debate on the report of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, the Minister said, “We’re seeing a more than 90% reduction in fatalities in the second wave compared to the first wave. So for every 100 people who died in the first wave, less than 10 have died this time. By any measure that’s an extraordinary improvement.”
Mr Donnelly went on to say that the country now has “the capacity to undertake up to 140,000 tests per week”. 1.8 million tests have been carried out here since the pandemic hit. The Minister pointed out that we’re holding our own here in Ireland and that our health service has been somewhat protected from the worst effects of the pandemic. Some other countries in Europe have seen their hospitals overrun.
“That is why the Government took extensive measures throughout this pandemic to limit transmission of the virus when it was required — to ensure we protected lives and did not have a situation where our hospitals and intensive care units would become overrun,” the Minister said.
As of Friday, there has been 2,010 coronavirus related deaths in Ireland.
At the yesterday evening’s press briefing, Prof Phillip Nolan of NPHET sounded a note of caution. The positive downward trend in new cases has stalled.
“For three weeks we saw case numbers declining at a rate of 5% to 7% per day and a reproduction number as low as 0.6. We are aware that case numbers have now stopped declining and as a consequence, the reproduction number has increased to an estimated 0.7 to 0.9. The data strongly suggests that a small, recent increase in the level of social contacts has led to the increase in reproduction number we see now.’ Prof Nolan said.