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Restrictions having an 'enormous impact' but 'there is no room for complacency' says modelling group chair

The daily growth rate of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ireland has fallen in recent days to around 15%.

Professor Philip Nolan, President, National University of Ireland Maynooth & Chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group speaking this evening.
Professor Philip Nolan, President, National University of Ireland Maynooth & Chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group speaking this evening.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

IRELAND IS NOT on track for an “unmitigated” Covid-19 epidemic but should not get complacent in light of recent restrictions, the Chair of The Irish Epidemiological Modelling Group said this evening. 

Health Officials earlier confirmed a further 295 cases of the Covid-19 virus in Ireland and said another 8 people had died from the disease. 

There have now been 54 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland; the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ireland now stands at 2,910.

Speaking this evening, Professor Philip Nolan said that despite early modelling which predicted 15,000 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland by the end of March, a series of recently introduced public health measures had helped to start flattening the curve and reduce the growth rate of the virus. 

“There was this very strong drive to flatten the curve with a series of escalating public health measures introduced over the last two weeks and, I suppose in one sense, the good news is we are far below that unmitigated scenario,” said Professor Nolan. 

In an “unmitigated scenario” Professor Nolan’s team predicted announcing 3,000 new Covid-19 cases today, instead of 295. 

“The measures that the State has imposed and that the public have really complied with very, very strongly are having an enormous effect on the number of actual cases that we’re seeing today.”

Professor Nolan, however, said it was not possible to make a prediction on the surge of Covid-19 cases at this time as a more reliable picture was needed. 

The Modelling Advisory Groups’s data reveals that before restrictions were in place, the daily growth rate of confirmed Covid-19 cases was at 33%. This has fallen in recent days to around 15%. 

“But it is still growing and needs to fall further,” Professor Nolan said. “We need to get that down to zero.”

EUYMu6PXgAApeMl Modelling graph for cumulative confimed cases of Covid-19. Source: Department of Health

In the graph (above), the blue line indicates Ireland’s current trend of Covid-19 cases. The green, yellow and red lines are where Ireland’s trend could go in terms of the number of cases over the coming weeks. 

The black line indicates where Professor Nolan’s team believe Ireland would be now had we not introduced any measures. 

On Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a raft of restrictive new measures aimed at stemming the spread of the virus in Ireland. People are being told to stay at home for the next two weeks, until Easter Sunday 12 April. 

Speaking this evening, Professor Nolan said that it is going to take at least seven to 14 days to see the full effect of these particular measures and said the most recent data has allowed his team to revise their short-term forecast for the number Covid-19 cases.  

“I know that many of you are going to want me to take some firm prediction for the coming weeks [but] it’s just not possible,” he said. “There is no room for complacency.”

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