Young people helping to suppress Covid-19 numbers, says leading doctor – The Irish Times

Last Updated on October 31, 2020 by

A further 416 cases has brought the number of Covid-19 cases in October to almost 25,000 for the month.

The total of 24,866 surpasses that of the previous record month of April when there were 17,377 recorded cases.

Five more deaths were reported on Saturday bringing the final number for the month to 112. There were 1,141 deaths in the month of April.

The number of people in hospital this month went from 130 at the beginning to 322 at the end of the month peaking on October 27th when there were 354 people in the State’s hospitals with Covid-19.

The new cases and deaths notified by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Saturday brings to 61,456 the total number of infections in the Republic, and the number of coronavirus-related deaths to 1,913.

The numbers in intensive care units increased by one to 42. Of the new cases confirmed as of midnight on Friday, 64 per cent were among people under 45 years of age, with 34 the median age; 186 were men and 230 were women.

Some 87 cases were located in Dublin, followed by 62 in Cork, 41 in Mayo, and 37 in Galway. The remaining 189 cases were spread across 20 other counties.

There were 320 coronavirus patients in hospitals as of 2pm on Saturday, 41 of whom were in intensive care. There has been 19 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohansaid nationally the R-number, which is the reproductive rate of the virus, has dropped to about 1.

This means for every person who contracts the disease they will pass it on to an average of one other individual, suggesting the spread of the virus has slowed following the national lockdown.

“We are making progress in suppressing the current rise of Covid-19. Ireland is currently one of only four countries in the EU with a reduction in its seven-day incidence,” said Dr Holohan.

“We are working collectively to achieve suppression, but it is too early to ease our efforts. The incidence is decreasing in young adults but it continues to rise in those aged over 75. We have more to do but we are on the right track,” he said.

Cavan still has the highest incidence rate of the disease at 645.9 per 100,000 people, with 492 cases in the last 14 days. Meath has the second highest incidence at 500.9, followed by Westmeath, Sligo, Cork, Galway, then Donegal.

Dublin has the 15th highest incidence rate in the country, at 237.7 per 100,000 people, and 3,203 cases in the last 14 days.

Meanwhile, young people have reduced their contacts by half in recent weeks leading to a significant fall in Covid-19 infections, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team ’s Dr Mary Favier.

Dr Favier said there has been a notable change of behaviour among the youth and that the public at large had reduced their close contacts. Moreover, the ban on visiting other households is already having a beneficial effect, she added.

She said the number of contacts that the average teenager who tested positive has had dropped from 20 six weeks ago to 12 a fortnight ago and now to six.

“Young people have been vilified and they have subject to a lot of very negative messages. We have made much more progress. They have lost a lot and they have the most to lose,” she said.

Dr Favier, who is Covid-19 adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners told The Irish Times that close contacts in the general population has dropped from six to three, meaning that most close contacts now are people in the same household.

“We are in the best part of nine days into the restrictions. We are now seeing a real tightening in terms of people’s levels of contacts,” she said. “We know from previous experience in March that is what really makes the difference.”

However, she cautioned that while numbers of Covid-19 infections in young are declining, they are increasing in the over-65s which are most affected by the disease.

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