GP says focus on Covid death figures should be 'toned down'

ireland
A medic in PPE and ambulances outside the Accident and Emergency department at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

A Kildare GP has warned about the dangers of the ‘catastrophisation’ of the pandemic.

Dr Brendan O’Shea said that “a repeated diet of negative headlines” was having an impact on people and how they feel.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Dr O’Shea called for the Covid death figures to be put in perspective. There were 32,000 deaths per year in the 26 counties. There had been 3,000 deaths from Covid, they could not be ignored.

Communications on the figures should be toned down and there should be more focus on the positive, he said. “The yobs are in the minority, the majority of people are being brilliant.”

It was evident in his practice that some sub groups were suffering a lot. Carers for older people with dementia in particular were suffering hardship as a vital service (respite care) had vanished. Young adults were also suffering, he said.

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In his practice they were doing more talk therapy and prescribing more anxiety medicine, he said.

Dr O’Shea said people had to take the perspective that Spring was coming and the vaccine was being rolled out. But if there was another ‘golfgate’ or reports of people flouting the rules then that would be emotive and cause anger and despair.

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