The profile of Covid-19 in Ireland is “generally stable with grounds for optimism”, according to Prof Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
A further four deaths related to Covid-19 have been announced this afternoon (one occurred in January, one in February and two in May). An additional 425 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were notified.
“Disease incidence is stable and we are seeing improvements in some indicators,” outlined Prof Nolan at this afternoon’s NPHET briefing.
“Hospital and ICU admissions are decreasing slowly, the seven day moving average is reduced, the five-day moving average is stable, the national positivity rate has reduced to 2.4 per cent and incidence among all age groups is reducing.
“The data also reveals the positive effects of vaccination, not only incidence in the over-65 age groups below the national average and rapidly declining, but we are seeing a very large discrepancy in the probability of being hospitalised or dying. It is clear that vaccination not only decreases infection but also decreases the severity of any disease that breaks through.”
On the issue of variants, Dr Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, commented: “While it’s important to remain vigilant in emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, current evidence indicates that the vaccines we have are very effective against all currently circulating variants so we would encourage everyone to get vaccinated when offered the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said it was “very important” that all students preparing to sit State exams in June “take the necessary precautions now to ensure you do not contract Covid-19, particularly in the last remaining days before the commencement of the Leaving Cert”.
“Do not attend graduation ceremonies or events. Take this time to restrict your social contacts and continue to follow the public health advice.”
Dr Abigail Collins, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE, added: “Schools have been advised that they should not have end of year graduations ceremonies for sixth year students in whole year groups or facilitate the attendance of parents or other family members either on the school premises or in any other locations.
“It is very important not to carry out any activities that may put sixth year students at risk of exposure to Covid-19. Schools are also asked to strongly encourage students to act responsibly and not to attend any social events or gatherings which greatly increase the risk of spreading Covid-19.”