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Covid-19 deaths and hospital numbers remain low as Ireland is ‘protecting vulnerable people better’

The majority of confirmed cases are now in those aged under 45.

HSE CHIEF PAUL Reid has said deaths and numbers of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 are remaining low despite rising case numbers across the country because  people in vulnerable groups are better protected than they were at the start of the pandemic.

Reid said the majority of those diagnosed with Covid-19 are younger and therefore less likely to have severe symptoms requiring hospitalisation.

On average over the last seven days, there have been confirmed 115 cases in Ireland each day. Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, the HSE CEO said there were 936 cases on our worst day at the end of April, with 879 people in hospital and 160 people in ICU.

He said where we are today is a “much better, much stronger place” than we were at the peak of this virus, but we “can’t drop our guard”.

In the first six months of the pandemic Reid said people most impacted were the elderly and vulnerable. The majority of people who are affected now (up to 80%) are below the age of 45. 

“But the concern is always that we follow that transmission so it doesn’t infect more vulnerable groups as well,” he added. 

 ”We want all of the population to understand the virus doesn’t distinguish and all people are vulnerable to it, but as importantly, the transmission of the virus from younger people to older people is still the same risk that it was at the start of this.”

Reid said people are now “protecting vulnerable people better” and vulnerable people are taking better precautions than they were at the beginning of the pandemic.

“The vast majority of people are very conscious about the elderly population and vulnerable people and making sure, so I think that’s something we need to stay consistent on. I think it has worked.

“It’s not that the virus has changed, per se, I think the measures and protections we put in have strengthened our resilience.”

Dr Catherine Motherway, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at University Hospital Limerick, also told RTÉ today that the system is now picking up more people who are positive for the virus but who are asymptomatic. Many of these people were offered a test because they were close contacts of another confirmed case.

She said these asymptomatic cases may not have been picked up at the start of the pandemic when only those who had the main symptoms were tested.

Dr Motherway said even those who are not very ill with the disease can transmit it and people should reduce their social contacts as much as possible.

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“Make sure that when we meet other people that we keep away from them, interact with them socially but not in a physical way, keep the two metres if we can at all manage it.”

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