Ireland almost has highest rate of Covid "on the planet," says expert 2 weeks ago

Ireland almost has highest rate of Covid "on the planet," says expert

“The implications of that are brutal.”

Ireland almost has the highest rate of Covid-19 on the planet, an expert has said.

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DCU Professor of health systems Anthony Staines told Newstalk this week that the country's rate of coronavirus transmission has increased beyond that of other EU countries.

“The numbers are much higher than, I think, anyone had feared,” he said.

“We now have almost the highest rate of Covid-19 on the planet, which is very worrying, and our rate has gone up much faster than other European countries."

This comes following reports of patients being treated in ambulances while waiting for beds to becoming available.

Letterkenny University Hospital saw up to seven ambulances waiting outside the hospital over the weekend, with many patients being assessed outside to ensure those with priority would be treated first.

The hospital is currently treating double the number of coronavirus patients it dealt with in the first wave of the pandemic, as Ireland's national 14-day incidence rate reaches 1291.2.

61,484 new cases of Covid have been reported in the past 14 days. By comparison, Ireland's total number of cases stood at 61,059 on October 30. 6,888 new cases were confirmed by the Department of Health yesterday, with eight more deaths.

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Prof Staines said that Ireland's growth is, similar to that of the UK, due to increased socialising during the Christmas period as well as new strains of the virus.

He added that despite the government's hope to have the population vaccinated by August, he doesn't expect to see even 80% of people vaccinated until the later Autumn months.

“We have been doing a little bit of work modelling various scenarios for vaccination and it is very hard to see how we can get vaccination compete, certainly much before September and probably much before October,” he said.

“The implications of that are brutal.”