Covid-19: 582 new cases, R number estimated at 'very close to 1'

ireland
Covid-19: 582 New Cases, R Number Estimated At 'Very Close To 1'
Covid-19 testing signage is displayed by check-in counters inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) amid increased Covid-19 travel restrictions on January 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - President Joe Biden will re-impose a Covid-19 travel ban on most non-US citizens who have been in Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much of Europe, a White House official said, as the new administration ramps up its pandemic response. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
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The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has confirmed 582 new cases of Covid-19 and no additional deaths.

Of today's cases, 290 were men, 291 were women and 74 per cent were under the age of 45.

There were 156 cases in Dublin, 23 in Meath, 19 in Donegal, 15 in Louth and 14 in Kildare. The remaining 198 cases were spread across 20 other counties.

Ireland's 14-day incidence rate is now 151 per 100,000, while the five-day moving average number of cases is 498.

As of 8am this morning, there was 345 people in hospital with the virus, 83 of whom were in ICU.

In the North, 169 people tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, while there was one additional Covid-related death. There were also 167 patients in hospital with the disease in Northern Ireland, 16 of whom were in intensive care.

Chair of Nphet's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan estimated the reproductive 0r R number to now be between 0.8-1.1 showing the transmission of the virus is either stabilised or declining at a very slow rate.

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Professor Nolan said the rate of decline is now between -0.3 and 0, adding it is "not clear to any of us what is going to happen next".

He added there was "no clear pattern by age group" this week, however the number of outbreaks in school settings remains low.

This follows news from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that their studies have found the AstraZeneca vaccine to be "safe and effective" in protecting people against Covid-19.

The use of the AstraZeneca jab had been paused in Ireland due to concerns regarding a number of reported cases of blood clots among people who had received the jab, however, the EMA found there was no overall risk of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The head of the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (Prac), Dr Sabine Straus said the number of blot clots reported after vaccination was "lower than expected in the general population", and given the vaccine was effective in preventing Covid-19 – which itself can lead to blood clots – Dr Straus said the shot "likely reduces" the risks of clots overall.

Approximately 30,000 AstraZeneca vaccines due to be administered in Ireland this week had been put on hold due to the concerns, but the EMA's findings will likely see the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommend that the use of the jabs be resumed.

Warning signals

Elsewhere, the HSE expressed concern that Ireland may be noting the "early warning signals" of increased transmission, noting a rise in demand for Covid tests.

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‘Early warning signals’ as Covid testing demand ri...
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Speaking at the HSE's weekly briefing, chief executive Paul Reid said community demand for Covid-19 tests has increased by more than nine per cent in the last week, the first rise for five weeks.

"There are early warning signals for us that the brakes are being slightly put on in terms of improvements we’ve been making over the previous few weeks," said Mr Reid.

"Because the rate of decrease in hospitalisations for patients with Covid has slowed, particularly over the last few weeks, it’s actually stalled.

"And the slowing in reduction of the hospitalised cases mirrors the slowing in reduction of the overall cases happening in the community," he added.

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