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30 Nov 2021

CMO urges 'responsible decision making' as cases predicted to soar in December

CMO urges 'responsible decision making' as he predicts cases to soar in December

Dr Tony Holohan said that the cases are preventable if people make some progress in terms of cutting transmission.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has said NPHET is predicting there could be as many as 200,000 cases, and potentially double that, of Covid-19 in December.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr Tony Holohan said that the cases are preventable if people make some progress in terms of cutting transmission adding that none of these people are infected yet and so "it is not inevitable".

The CMO said that 2 per cent, or 20 out of every 1000 cases that may occur, will end up in hospital.

"That's a lot of people in hospital, potentially 4000 or more, it's a lot of people being asked to self-isolate and to restrict movements. None of those people are infected yet," he said.

Dr Holohan said basic public health measures can help to prevent the numbers rising and stressed "if you have symptoms, you need to self-isolate and get a PCR test", adding that while he understands it's difficult to change behaviours again 18 months into the pandemic, the measures can work.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday 16, the CMO stated in the last 14 days, they have been notified of almost 55,000 cases of the virus, the only time there have been more cases in a 24-day period being January of this year, and figures are expected to increase in the coming days.

Dr Holohan continued to say this case level is unsustainable and when incidence rates are as high as this, we must all act as though we are close contacts and we are at risk of transmitting the disease to others, adding we are more likely to contract the virus from someone we know and should prioritise who we need to meet.

Speaking of the booster campaign the CMO said over two million people are now eligible, including everyone over 50 and those aged over 16 with underlying medical conditions, adding family and friends of all those will soon be called for the booster and should all continue to follow the public health advice.

He continued to say that he encourages "responsible decision making" by people when choosing to attend Christmas work parties and people should "stay at home as much as possible and work from home".

Dr Holohan said even though the country has very high vaccination rates, the high transmissibility of the Delta variant means people need to maintain a high level of adherence to other public health measures to ensure that significant surges of the infection don’t occur.

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