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'It simply isn't true': Health officials dismiss US report which says Ireland is past Covid-19 peak

The new data suggested that Ireland would see just over 400 coronavirus-related deaths by August.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE described a model suggesting that the peak of Covid-19 infections in Ireland has passed as “not reliable”.

New data published today by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, based at the University of Washington in the US, suggested that the peak number of daily deaths in Ireland passed on 6 April.

The model also suggested that the peak use of hospital and intensive care beds passed on 4 April, and that just over 400 people will have died from the virus by August. 

It calculated the figures by examining the projected spread of the coronavirus in a number of European countries, in line with the expectation that full physical distancing measures will remain in place and be adhered to until 4 August.

Screenshot 2020-04-07 at 7.40.23 PM Source: The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation

But Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned this evening that this model was not an accurate representation of the situation in Ireland. 

“It simply isn’t true. It’s not reliable,” Holohan said at the Department of Health’s Covid-19 update, where it emerged that 36 more people had died from the virus in Ireland, the biggest daily number so far.

“That’s not something that people should listen to or rely upon.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn explained that the model did not take into account what might happen in Ireland over the coming days, or this evening’s figures.

“From what we can tell that model is not really a model at all, to be honest,” he said.

“It just took existing case data and basically suggested that because things seem to have stabilised over a short number of days, that perhaps we’ve reached a peak.”

Glynn also said the department’s modelling group, led by Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, would provide a more accurate forecast of the situation in Ireland and the effect of physical distancing measures because its parameters would be more extensive.

“I think really people need to wait and see what comes out of that,” he said.

“I think it’s important that people wouldn’t take undue store from what was said in that work from America, because it would certainly by to undue complacency at a time when we certainly can’t afford that.”

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