Immunologist Professor Paul Moynagh has warned that Ireland’s high vaccination rate meant that the situation was now “likely to be as good as they are going to get”.
There was no point in delaying reopening any further with no reason to expect case rates to improve in the Autumn, he told Newstalk Breakfast.
Vaccines were doing what they were supposed to do, protecting people against serious illness and hospitalisation, he added. There would be breakthrough infections as the vaccine could not give total immunity.
“We are getting very close to — if not already at — the point where things are as good as they are going to get, so that should be reflected in some of the things we are thinking about.”
The Government should have been more ambitious with reopening earlier in the summer, said Prof Moynagh. Events like the concert in the Iveagh Gardens had been pointless as they were set up with no risk, instead they should have mirrored what could actually happen in reality, he said.
The pilot events should have tried “to capture and reflect that risk and put in place and evaluate measures that would mitigate that risk”.
Things do not get easier, and we need to be upfront about that.
“Were we seriously saying we were going to open up things at the beginning of September when schools were opening and universities and we were heading into the winter months?
“Things do not get easier, and we need to be upfront about that.”
Prof Moynagh said he did not understand the reasoning of continuously delaying things.
“We are at the stage now where we have certain sectors that need help and need support and need to begin opening up that probably should have been opened up earlier — I think we need to look at that.”