IRELAND is experiencing “multiple second ripples” rather than a big second wave of coronavirus, according to a top health expert.
Professor Sam McConkey said a return to the extent of the virus in March and April would be a catastrophic national disaster, but hopes a full second wave is avoidable.
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Head of International Health Tropical Medicine at the RCSI said we are currently experiencing a multitude of second ripples of the virus.
Speaking on RTE’s Today with Sarah McInerney show, he said: “I think we’ll have a multitude of second ripples, in fact that’s what we’re having at present.
“We’re having little outbreaks in a building site here, in another workplace there, in a family here, in travellers.
“We’re already seeing multiple second ripples and we need in place really effective ways of them getting tested, getting contact tracing done, maintaining the strict self isolation.
“And then the change to the workplace and change to people’s activity so that people don’t spread it.”
Prof McConkey said these second ripples are going to continue “inevitably” but hopes that we do not experience a full second wave.
He said it would be a national disaster and a catastrophe if a second wave brought the country back to how it was earlier in the pandemic.
He said: “I really would be horrified if we were back where we were in March or in April, that would be a national disaster, it means we’ve learnt nothing from the first time and it’s just a catastrophe if that were to happen.
“Ending up like New York or Milan is definitely not a route we want.”
YOUTH SPREADING VIRUS
Recent weeks have seen a jump in the number of new cases among people under the age of 45.
The professor said this increase is due to a “diversity of reasons.”
He said: “Some of it’s people traveling from abroad unfortunately, often from countries where they shouldn’t have been going.
“Young people also don’t feel as sick and don’t seek care as quickly, so by the time they call the GP and get a test five or six days have gone passed and then they’ve spread it to a cluster of other people that they live with and work with and socialise with.”
“I’m hoping that if we keep on message and do what we’ve all been asked to do precisely that we will be able to have a good life with schools and pubs without a massive increase in the virus.”
As the country aims towards completely eliminating the virus, Prof McConkey said there is “always a risk” of new cases coming in from abroad.
He called for greater control and possible policing and enforcing of restrictions on people travelling into the country – to ensure they restrict their movements.
He added: “We need to enforce that fairly rigidly in my view.”