The outlook is bleak.
As Europe reports a record 700,000 cases of Covid-19 in a single week, if current trends continue, Ireland will be faced with an explosion of coronavirus cases as high as 2,500 daily by Halloween.
In one of the gravest Covid-19 briefings to date, health experts outlined the rapidly deteriorating disease trajectory nationally, warning that the number of hospitalisations is increasing faster than the exponential growth modelling predicted.
A further 1205 new cases of coronavirus were reported yesterday evening, with three further deaths from the disease. Of those cases, 173 were in Cork, where both the CUH and Mercy hospitals are already struggling with capacity.
New restrictions on household and garden visits came into force last night, but further measures appear likely after Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan admitted that “the scale of infection in the population is simply beyond the capacity” of contact tracing.
Cases notified over the past week have increased by 82% compared with the previous seven days, from 3,514 to 6,382 cases.
“The reproduction number appears to have increased and is now at 1.4 nationally,” said Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group,
“Modelling shows that if current trends continue, by October 31st, the number of cases notified daily would be in the range of 1,800 – 2,500 cases with over 400 people in hospital.”
This morning, Gardaí began rolling out a “high visibility, nationwide policing plan” to ensure compliance with public health guidelines and regulations and help the vulnerable as Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal move to Level 4 on the Government’s ‘Living with Covid-19’ framework.