COVID-19: Expert warns Ireland's second wave has begun


As cases of the virus rise rapidly, an infectious disease expert has suggested that Ireland has now waded into a second wave of the novel coronavirus.


At an Oireachtas Special Committee on the Strategic Response to COVID-19, infectious disease specialist, Professor Sam McConkey,said it was "clear to everybody that we're in the middle of a second wave".


Dublin had initially been the only cause for concern, though recent trends in Limerick, Louth and Waterford suggest the virus is gaining a foothold across the country again.


The national COVID incidence rate for the last two weeks is now lingering around 53 cases per 100k people.


While that number is staggeringly high for parts of Dublin, namely in the Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart and Tallaght areas, both on around 190 and 175 cases per 100k respectively.


 




Speaking as part of the delegation of representatives from around the world, Prof. McConkey outlined to the COVID committee that there were three key steps that the country needed to take to get a handle on the situation.


Firstly, he outlined the necessity to bring down the number of cases, citing that the best weapon in our arsenal against COVID-19 was physical distancing.


Prof. McConkey stressed that "crushing the curve completely into the ground" must be a priority and if we failed in this respect we would "end up with increasing number of ICU and death and disability."


His second recommendation was to keep cases down by improving contact tracing and outbreak investigations, citing that we had been on top of these aspects in the early stages of the pandemic.


He highlighted that Ireland was neatly poised to take several measures to prevent a resurgence of the virus, with multiple resources in the biotech industries here that could facilitate stronger control of the virus.


His final piece of advice on controlling the virus was to prevent its reintroduction into the country by controlling the influx of incoming travelers.


He compared the notion of 'living with the COVID-19' to "living with a large a tiger in your house, it will come back and bite you, none of you would do it".


Prof. McConkey stressed that living with the virus wouldn't be a viable option due to the threat that it would pose to the older and more vulnerable in the population.