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'You may represent a risk to your loved ones': Over one third of recent Covid-19 cases in people under 35

The CMO said a return to ‘the way things used to be’ could lead to a resurgence of disease.

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE warned younger people against ignoring public health advice as figures reveal over one third of recent Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in people under 35.

These included 25 in the 15 to 24 age category and 35 in the 25 to 34 category.

“I think that in broad terms we’ve seen very good compliance across the whole population, particularly good among people who are older,” Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said this evening.

“Without pointing fingers I think that probably, if there are areas where we’ve seen more of a challenge in terms of compliance, it has been among the 15-34 age group where there has been a return to pre-Covid social activity.”

“The kinds of things that are part of life and enjoyable and that you look forward to in those age groups are almost all restricted, whether that’s attendance at school or university, whether its participation in sport, whether it’s social activities like going out to meet friends or going out to parties, pubs and clubs,” Holohan said.

Although he said he can understand the frustration of people in these age groups, it is too early to return to activities like house parties.

He said the risk of a severe impact on a young person’s health is much lower than in other age bands, but there are other risks to consider.

“There is a risk that when you’re picking up this disease that you then represent a risk to other people in society that you come into contact with – other loved ones who might be in vulnerable groups that we’ve talked about that you might represent a risk of transmission to them,” he said.

And if there’s to be a resurgence in the disease across the whole society it would be if we have a high level of non-compliance like we’ve talked about before – anticipatory behaviour where people start going back to the way things used to be and behaving the way they used to behave. That’s exactly the kind of thing that will lead to an increase in transmission of infection.

Playdates

The figures also revealed 16 children aged 14 or under have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last two weeks, including nine in the 0-4 age bracket. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn offered some advice to parents, stressing that a “combination of elements” can lead to increased risk in terms of playdates. 

He recommends:

  • Keeping play outdoors where possible;
  • Limiting the number of children playing together;
  • Limiting the amount of time they spend together;
  • Washing their hands before and after;
  • Children who are sick should not be meeting with other children.

“It’s the basic set of measures that we’ve been talking about for many months, and just applying them in as pragmatic a way as you can to keep your children and other children safe,” Dr Glynn said. 

“It is welcome that this disease seems to be much less severe, as a whole, [in children] but it’s still not without risk in any age group.

“As we move forward it’s likely thatwe will see more cases in children as more children mix with other children – that won’t be surprising.

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“I guess the key message for parents and for guardians over the coming weeks is to continue to try to reduce that risk as much as possible, albeit children have to get back to having as normal a life as possible. We understand this has been an extremely difficult time for children, because of a whole range of different elements.”

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