Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

  • receive the eCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz.


Medicalindependent.ie is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

An age of uncertainty

By Mindo - 26th Oct 2021 | 98 views

As this editorial is being written, the rising number of Covid-19 cases, along with associated hospitalisations and ICU admissions, have made the dark days of mid-autumn even darker. The plan had been that 22 October would see the full reopening of society after more than a year and a half of restrictions.

While the Government has agreed that the remaining aspects of the hospitality, entertainment, and night-time economy sector can reopen, this can only be done with the full range of protective measures in place and the wide and robust implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

The protective measures include a continuation of the social distancing and mask-wearing to which we have all grown so accustomed. Return to workplaces will continue on a “phased and cautious” basis for specific business requirements.
Sector-specific guidance and protocols, including for work, hospitality, cultural and sporting events, will be “reviewed and strengthened where appropriate”.

Will these measures and the continuing roll-out of the vaccination programme be sufficient to curb the current surge of the virus? Perhaps not. In recent correspondence with the Government, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the national public health emergency team could not rule out the reintroduction of restrictions in the future.

Dr Holohan stated what has become increasingly obvious – the trajectory of the disease has proved difficult to predict with any certainty. Speaking about the Government’s revised plans on 19 October, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted the country is not currently “where we hoped to be or expected to be” regarding the pandemic. The Tánaiste said when the reopening strategy was announced in August, it was expected that, by 22 October, 90 per cent of people over the age of 60 would be fully vaccinated and the surge of the Delta variant would have peaked.

However, while the vaccination target has been achieved, the Delta surge has continued. The rising number of cases
has called into question whether stronger action is required. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), for instance, has demanded the reintroduction of Covid-19 testing and contact tracing in primary schools. The INTO also
called for a pilot for antigen testing in schools and a review of restricting mask-wearing to children aged 13 and over.

It can be argued that the success of the vaccination programme has caused the powers-that-be to rush the roll-back of measures that were so important at the beginning of the pandemic. The desire to return to ‘business as usual’ is more than understandable. But the extremely contagious nature of the Delta variant, combined with the relaxing of
restrictions, has caused the surge in cases we are now experiencing.

Nobody wants another lockdown. But although vaccines have provided a great source of hope, they cannot be relied upon, in the short-term at least, as the only solution to a crisis that looks very far from being over.

Leave a Reply

Latest
Latest Issue
The Medical Independent 19th May 2022

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read