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'We have a short period of time to turn this around': Officials warn Covid-19 situation deteriorating across country

The average daily 5-day case count is rising, now at over 400 per day.

Image: RollingNews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE said there are indications that the trajectory of the coronavirus is now deteriorating, despite progress made in recent weeks.

Daily case numbers had been declining up until late last week, but the average daily 5-day case count is rising, now at over 400 per day. 

Today the Department of Health reported 456 new cases of Covid-19.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: “We are concerned that, unfortunately, the very positive trajectory we have been reporting in recent weeks has at best stalled and in fact according to a number of indicators is now deteriorating.

“We really have a short period of time to turn this around, we’ve two weeks to go before December 1st and I’d like to take the opportunity this evening to implore people not to focus on Christmas unduly, not to focus on levels, whether it’s level 2,3,4, or 5, but really to start focusing again on the basics.”

He said there have been outbreaks linked to funerals, family gatherings and student activities as well as clusters in some workplaces. Glynn said he cannot rule out a connection in some cases to Halloween events, but he said most people managed Halloween reponsibly.

This recent spike, he said, can not be attributed to any one cause or settings and it may be that people are “getting tired of listening to the messages”. 

“We have seen a number of clusters linked with extended family get-togethers, with student get-togethers, but this is on the back of millions of people doing the right thing, it’s on the back of a very substantial decrease in incidence amongst younger people, for example,” he said.

“On the one hand it would be an easier message for me tonight if I could point to a particular group or particular set of behaviours that’s causing us particular concern. From our perspective it’s actually more concerning that we can’ t pinpoint any one behaviour or any one group.”

He said the National Public Health Emergency Team cannot predict what the situation will look like two weeks from now but he said they are “certainly more concerned now than we were last Thursday”.

“The issue here is that it’s all over our communities and what we’re seeing is lots and lots of small clusters all across the country, that makes it very difficult for us to put in place a policy measure to stop that. Ultimately the key thing that will stop that over the coming days is people’s behaviour.”

Dr Glynn also commented on videos shared on social media at the weekend of crowds drinking together on streets in Dublin and Cork. 

“Behaviour like that in any setting is frustrating and I’m not talking about for us, it’s particularly frustrating for literally the millions of people within our population who are doing the right thing,” he said.

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He said it is particularly disheartening for older and vulnerable people who have been isolating themselves for months to protect themselves. 

He asked people not to get distracted by these examples and to remember that there is “a very significant silent majority out there who are doing the right things, who are keeping themselves and their families safe, and ultimately keeping each and every one of us in our communities safe”.

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