Those over the age of 60 and the vulnerable have once again been told to limit their movements as Covid-19 deaths are set to surge in the coming weeks.
As the Irish Examiner reports, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan described the deteriorating Covid 19 situation as “worrying and concerning”.
“It is particularly important that people who are vulnerable to this disease and people over the age of 60 in particular, minimise as much as they can their discretionary social contacts,” he said.
“And that they make an effective assessment of their own risks.”
This could include walking out of restaurants that fail to check for Covid passes, or leaving establishments where people feel the environment is not safe for staff and customers, he said.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) yesterday held its first public briefing since late August, prompted by a significant rise in Covid cases, hospitalisations, and intensive care unit (ICU) numbers over the past number of weeks.
Yesterday saw 464 Covid patients being treated in hospitals, including 86 in ICU. A further 63 Covid deaths were notified in the last week.
Explaining why a booster vaccine campaign is being rolled out for over 60s at the start of next month, Dr Holohan warned: “There is evidence of waning immunity in older people”.
However, he stressed: “We are not asking people to stay at home necessarily, we are asking people to cut down their interactions.”
Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Epidemiological Modelling Group, said hospital admissions were rising due to the high level of community transmission, and warned of an increase in deaths.
There are currently 52 patients on ventilators, which Prof Nolan said is high compared to previous waves, and he warned: “Given the increase in case counts, we would expect to see an increase in mortality in the weeks to come.”
The public health experts accepted there is widespread public confusion as to why Ireland's Covid situation is worsening, despite the country's extremely high vaccination rate.