Lord Mayor of Cork: People treating pandemic as 'a joke'

Lord Mayor of Cork: People treating pandemic as 'a joke'
Lord Mayor John Sheehan: "We do need to target the public health message on physical distancing - we need all levels of society to get the message"

The Lord Mayor of Cork said some people are still treating the Covid-19 pandemic as a joke.

Dr John Sheehan, a GP by trade, urged people to take the messages about physical distancing on board.

He was reacting to reports of the so-called ’cough challenge’, as well as the attitude of a young woman who said she felt entitled to go drinking in a field in Cork city the night before restrictions were tightened.

Dr Sheehan said these instances prove that more targeted public health messaging is required.

"Convincing young people, especially, to take this seriously remains a challenge," he said.

"A lot of them just don’t get public health messages. When you’re young, you feel invincible, as if nothing will happen to you. And there is always that sense of rebellion against authority.

"But we do need to target the public health message on physical distancing. We need all levels of society to get the message.

"Peer pressure will have the biggest influence in changing the attitude of young people towards this."

He was reacting to an interview with a young mother on the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s RedFM today.

The woman, 21, who lives with her grandparents, went drinking with a gang of friends in the Fairfield, Farranree on Tuesday night. Gardaí were called to disperse the group.

The woman said she and her friends felt they were entitled to go drinking because they didn’t know how long it would be before they could meet up again.

She said she didn’t think about the risk of passing the virus on to her own family.

She also said she didn’t want to hear any statistics about infection rates or deaths because it is too depressing.

Mr Sheehan urged parents to talk to their teenagers and young adults and to remind them that self-isolation is designed to protect others.

On a positive note, he said he has seen few elderly patients with Covid-19 symptoms in recent weeks which, he said, proves they have taken on board the message to self-isolate.

Another Cork GP, Dr Nick Flynn, said several groups are ignoring the public health guidelines.

"I know of a doctor who returned from a ski trip and was advised to self-isolate but headed off to their holiday home in another county and posted pictures of themselves on the golf course," he said.

"There are supposedly intelligent and medically trained individuals who should know better."

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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