'Guaranteed' that 'second wave will come when they ease restrictions', says UCC professor

Update: Professor Gerry Killeen, Research Chair in Applied Pathogen Ecology at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in University College Cork has warned that there will be repeated waves and surges of Covid-19 for the next four years.

It was not good enough to flatten the curve - it needed to be crushed, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The actions taken against the virus in Ireland have been too slow and half-hearted, he added, particularly with regard to incoming travellers and asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

Prof Killeen warned that there will be repeated waves and surges for the next four years as Covid-19 will become an endemic pathogen, “something that is permanently part of our landscape.”

“It is guaranteed that a second wave will come when they ease restrictions. Why embark on a journey that will backfire?”

Prof Killeen said that the existing restrictions should go on for longer so that the virus can be eliminated from the country. “The implications are huge.”

Keeping restrictions in place for another two to four months would eliminate the virus, he said. Otherwise the cycle of lockdowns and restrictions could be stretched over the next four years.

Prof Killeen said there was no doubt that a lot of businesses would close and the restrictions would have a huge impact on people’s lives. For some they had already gone past the point of no return, he said and some would never recover.

This pandemic is going to have a huge impact on the economy.

The question that must be asked, he said, was how much damage would be done by four years of repeated restrictions and surges of the virus.

Current Covid-19 strategy 'the wrong choice', says UCC professor

By Digital Desk staff

A UCC Professor believes we should be crushing the coronavirus curve and not easing restrictions yet.

It comes after another four people with coronavirus died in Ireland, bringing the death toll to 1,608.

57 new cases have been confirmed and the total number of positive tests has reached 24,639.

UCC’s Professor Gerry Killeen says the current approach to flatten the curve before the virus is eliminated isn't the way forward.

“We need to decide whether we are out to eliminate this virus and get ourselves into a position where we can really lift restrictions properly,” said the School of Biology professor.

“But at the moment our current strategy seems to be based around flattening the curve and living with the virus over the long term, which for me is really the wrong choice.”

He also believes any suggestion we should move from the 2-metre social distancing rule to 1-metre should not even be discussed.

It comes as the Government is under mounting pressure to relax social distancing guidelines as the retail and hospitality sectors warn of thousands of permanent job losses unless the two-metre rule is changed.

Meanwhile, HSE chief Paul Reid has said that about 98% of tests for Covid-19 come back negative.

Yesterday Mr Reid said almost 310,000 tests were completed and 35,000 swab tests had been done last week.

It now took two days or less to return test results, with a “significant proportion” available in one day or less.

From last week, a turnaround of 2.3 days was achieved from a doctor's visit to contract tracing, the fastest ever achieved.