- 16 Oct 20
NPHET issued a controversial recommendation last night to raise the entire country to Level 5, to slow the spread of Covid-19. What the Government will do in response remains to be seen – though all over the country people are increasingly fearful of a return to lockdown...
Ireland is braced today, and preparing for the worst, following the recommendation from NPHET last night that the country should be pushed onto Level 5 restrictions.
Level 5 is effectively a return to a national lockdown – except with children being allowed to go to school. Quite why that is accorded greater importance than any other aspect of social and economic activity has not been fully explained – though health authorities say that the number of cases of infection in schools is relatively low.
How the Government will react to NPHET’s recommendations in relation to Level 5 remains to be seen. The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the recommendation will be considered very carefully – but it could hardly be otherwise. At the moment, it seems that the most compelling argument in favour of the proposed almost-complete lockdown is that there is a risk of "hospitals being over-run.”
Yesterday, the HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr. Colm Henry said that the “uncontrolled” community transmission of Covid-19 is the greatest threat to our healthcare services.” He added that if we did nothing, it would lead to hospitalisations and intensive care admissions that no healthcare system could deal with.
However, the number in intensive care as a result of Covid-19 is still relatively small, at 29. The total number in hospital as a result of the virus yesterday stood at 244.
"We are now seeing the impact on other countries that are ahead of us in their experience of this second wave,” Dr. Henry said on RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne. "On hospitalisation, on intensive care units and tragically on deaths. There is no reason we would not expect our projections to be any different from what is happening in mainland Europe."
That the coronavirus has proven to be stubbornly present across the country over the past week is indisputable. NPHET points to a two-week incidence rate of 200 per 100,000 of the population compared to 3 per 100,000 at the end of July. However, whether or not that warrants a return to the most draconian form of lockdown in the form of Level 5 is a matter for debate.
Meanwhile, there has been considerable discussion among members of the public of the contents of a full-page ad, placed in the Irish Times yesterday and paid for Moorezey’s Holdings Limited. The ad sets out a series of what they call 'facts' concerning Covid-19 in Ireland.
The facts are all referenced back to NPHET and other Government websites and reports.
Among the information summarised is the following:
– The median age of death from Covid-19 in Ireland is 83. The average life expectancy os less than this at 81.5 tears
– 94.61% of those who have died in Ireland from Covid-10 had other “underlying health conditions”.
– More people die from car crashes in Ireland in every year than have died from Covid-19.
The ad asks, in effect: surely there is a better way to deal with the pandemic than closing down society?
That there is a right-wing agenda behind the ad is unlikely to be disputed. Moorezey’s Holdings has two directors: Robert Cairnduff and John Moore, who are also associated with 3D4Medical, a medical technology company.
There is a link in the ad to the controversial so called Great Barrington Declaration – written and signed by the American Institute for Economic Research, with an address in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA. It was authored by Sunetra Gupta (Universty of Oxford), Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University) and Martin Kulldorff (Harvard University).
The declaration was allegedly signed by 175,000 professionals, though the ‘signatories’ included the now-deceased serial killer and doctor, Harold Shipman, Dr. Johnny Fartypants, Dr. Person Fakename and more in a similar style.
The American Institute for Economic Research is funded by the notoriously conservative, Trump-supporting Koch Brothers network – who are associated with climate change denial.