We could really do without this.
Shortly after Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan expressed concern over the rise in Covid cases linked to the Delta variant which originally emerged in India, Indian health officials raised further alarm over a new, more transmissible variant they are calling ‘Delta plus.’
The original Delta variant was already considered to be 50% more transmissible than the UK variant – also known as the Alpha variant – which did so much damage across Ireland over the Christmas period.
Now the concern is that this newer Delta variant “spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, a potent intravenous infusion of antibodies to neutralise the virus,” though scientists have said it is too early to be certain.
It is believed that the AstraZeneca vaccine is 30% effective against the Delta variant after one shot, and 60% effective after both shots. However, its efficacy is 90% in the context of preventing hospitalisation.
The emergence of a new, stronger variant of the virus could throw Ireland’s reopening plans into disarray.
As it stands, Ireland’s reopening strategy involves allowing visitors from three households from July 5th, as well as allowing up to 50 visitors to attend a wedding or wedding reception. Indoor services at bars and restaurants are set to resume on the same date. International travel for non-essential purposes is scheduled to resume on July 19th.
It has been confirmed that a final decision on July 5th measures will not be made until July 1st or 2nd, suggesting a sense of caution over Ireland’s chances of reopening further. 294 cases of Covid were confirmed in Ireland yesterday, with 13 people in the ICU.