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Coronavirus: 12 more deaths announced as Ireland's Covid-19 death toll passes 2,000

The sobering milestone has been reached following the release of the latest figures from NPHET this evening.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

MORE THAN 2,000 people in Ireland have now died after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

The Department of Health confirmed this evening that a further 12 people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,006. 

The Department also confirmed 379 additional cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the total number of cases to 69,058.

Commenting on the milestone of 2,000 deaths being reached, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan noted how much the pandemic has impacted on families and communities across the country.

“It is important that we continue to work together if we are to suppress this virus and protect as many people as possible,” Holohan said.

“For the next two weeks, work from home, stay at home and follow public health advice.”

2,000 deaths 

This evening’s sobering milestone comes following an increase in deaths of people diagnosed with coronavirus in recent months as Ireland copes with the second wave of the pandemic. 

The first death of a person diagnosed with Covid-19 – of a woman in the east of the country – was confirmed on 11 March, the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Covid-19 as a pandemic. 

The number of cases and deaths grew exponentially as the virus spread across Ireland in the early spring.

By 1 June, 1,650 people had lost their lives to Covid-19.

Restrictions at the time meant that many family members, friends and loved ones could not properly celebrate the lives of those they had lost. 

Lifting lockdown

The strictest public health measures were eased from late May, and the spread of the virus was suppressed.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland also started to decrease rapidly as a result. No more than nine deaths were recorded across the whole of August. 

But even during that month cases were increasing again -  reaching a record high on 18 October when 1,283 cases were reported.

The number of deaths initially remained low, and additional ‘lockdown’ measures introduced in recent months have been credited by health officials with keeping enough capacity in the health system to successfully treat severe cases. 

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said the decreased mortality rate in Ireland matches similar patterns observed across Europe. 

In March and April, when Ireland’s testing and tracing programme was only beginning, the positivity rate of people coming forward for tests was 25% whereas it currently stands at 4%, said Dr Henry.

In other words, the virus was far more widespread at that time. 

“In addition, there was a bias towards testing older people,” Dr Henry told TheJournal.ie. As the health system mobilised to add capacity in the early days and weeks of the pandemic, tests could only be provided to those in vulnerable groups who were also showing symptoms of the disease. 

As the HSE raced to stem the spread of Covid-19, nursing homes were particularly vulnerable, resulting in the deaths of many older people across Ireland. 

The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the virus than most. Data released by the Central Statistics Office in May showed that almost 92% of confirmed Covid-19 deaths occurred in people aged over 65. 

“The other thing now is that older people are protecting themselves more and they’ll probably be protected more too,” said Dr Henry. 

In addition, improved treatments such as antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs have been increasingly used to treat people, including the elderly, who contract Covid-19. 

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002 Health Brief Source: Sasko Lazarov

Daily figures 

The daily number of deaths from Covid-19 announced each day during the pandemic does not mean the deaths occurred on that particular day. 

There is often a lag in confirming mortality as a result of the virus. In the early days of Covid-19, public health officials urged family members to report their loved ones deaths as early as possible so that health services could better understand the effects of the virus and gain a more accurate picture of mortality.

Members of NPHET have sounded warnings in recent days as the number of cases and mortality rates have increased. 

There were 36 deaths from Covid-19 in September and 119 in October. So far this month, 75 people have died from the virus.

“We are concerned the positive trajectory we had has at best stalled and is in fact deteriorating,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said earlier this week.

He added that there was only a short time “to turn this around” by focusing on the basic public health messages of social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a face covering. 

The Government announced earlier this year that national and local events to commemorate those we have lost during Covid-19 will take place in the near future. 

Collaborating with the media, civil society organisations and church groups on the approach and timing, it is expected these events will take place at some point next year.

Of the cases notified today;

  • 174 are men and 203 are women;
  • 64% are in people under the age of 45;
  • The median age is 36 years old;
  • 116 cases are in Dublin, 38 are in Donegal, 30 are in Meath, 27 are in Cork, 22 are in Limerick, 22 are in Louth, and the remaining 124 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of 2pm today 282 patients were in hospital, of which 33 are in intensive care units. Health officials also said there have been 22 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

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