The number of Covid-19 deaths is falling but the public needs to “stick with the plan” and abide by restrictions to reduce viral spread, a specialist in infectious diseases has said.
Dr Eoghan De Barra, an infectious disease specialist at Beaumont hospital in Dublin, was commenting on the latest Covid-19 figures, which show a fall in the number of deaths being reported on a daily basis.
Monday saw the highest Covid-19 daily death rate reported, with 77 deaths confirmed, but the Department of Health has since clarified that these deaths occurred over a period of weeks and not on one day.
Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan shared charts on twitter on Monday night showing a daily breakdown of the 77 deaths, which occurred between April 2 and April 20.
The average age of the 77 people who died was 84; 70% of them had underlying health conditions.
Other official figures show the highest number of deaths on any given day was on April 12, when more than 40 deaths were notified and further analysis points to a continued fall in number of deaths from mid-April.
The graphs, Dr Holohan said, showed that the “daily growth rate in the notification of these deaths by date of occurrence continues to decrease”.
While the figures are showing a downward trend, Dr Eoghan de Barra said “we need to stick with the plan” and current restrictions to stop the virus from spreading.
"The underlying figures are positive and if I was to have a message this morning it's about sticking with the plan. This is working, as a national effort we should be hugely proud of what we're achieving - but we need to stick with the plan," Dr De Barra told Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday.
There can be a rush to get back to normal when things start to look better, he said, cautioning against becoming complacent.
"I think we can start to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but we really need to stick with it now because this is the crucial time to actually make sure we continue to push the virus back," Dr de Barra said.
After a surge in Covid-19 admissions to Beaumont hospital a week to ten days ago, numbers have been falling off, he said, stressing that the hospital is continuing to treat patients with non-Covid illnesses and urging patients to attend if they feel unwell.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak took hold in Ireland at the end if February close to 700 people have lost their lives. More than 15,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed to date.
Senior health officials are this week considering the possibility of easing current Covid-19 restrictions as a first step to returning to normality and rebooting the economy.