The head of Ireland's Covid-19 modelling group says that people's behaviours will remain modified "for some time", but says that he "has no crystal ball" to say if the economy and society will return to full capacity by the end of the year.
Speaking at the Dáil special committee on Covid-19, Professor Philip Nolan said that there was "a lot of uncertainty about the future of us living with low levels of this virus somewhere in the EU".
He said that it was impossible to say currently if the country would be able to return to normal before Christmas due to the changing understanding of the virus. However, he added that he predicts some modified behaviour for some time to come.
“I honestly don’t have a crystal ball on this one. I don’t know what we’re going to learn about this virus over the next six months.
“It is literally impossible for me to say precisely about the impact in six months' time.
"But our behaviour will continue to be modified by this virus for some time to come."
Professor Nolan said that he believed the NPHET road map, including its acceleration, was the right strategy for the country, but did not say that he disagreed with 1,000 scientists who yesterday called for the country to "crush" the virus before reopening shops and restaurants.
He said that different scientists, working with incomplete information, would have differing opinions regularly.
Professor Nolan said that a second wave of the virus was "probable" but the response to it would be more targeted and specific to areas of outbreaks.
“The second wave will be different from the management of the first wave. The wave is likely to be different and we know a lot more about how to manage this virus than we did the last time.
“So I imagine that there could be more targeted measures introduced to control future outbreaks."-
Second wave of Covid-19 is probable in Ireland, says modelling expert
A second wave of Covid-19 is probable in Ireland but it would be managed differently to the first wave, a modelling expert has said.
Professor Philip Nolan, who chairs the modelling advisory group on Covid-19, said if a second wave comes, there will be a more targeted approach.
Speaking at the Covid-19 response committee, he said: “The second wave will be different from the management of the first wave. The wave is likely to be different and we know a lot more about how to manage this virus than we did the last time.
“So I imagine that there could be more targeted measures introduced to control the future outbreaks before the sort of blanket measures that we’ve seen in this context.
“It would be arrogant of me to predict where we will be with the virus by the end of the year. There is lots we don’t know. We need to plan as if a second wave is possible and try to have all of the contingency plans in place for that scenario if the virus comes back in the future.”
Professor Philip Nolan said he could not give a time to when the country will return to normality.
“I honestly don’t have a crystal ball on this one. I don’t know what we’re going to learn about this virus over the next six months,” he said.
“It is literally impossible for me to say precisely about the impact but in six months’ time I’m sure that lots of people are offering an opinion.
“My view having looked at this is there’s a lot of uncertainty that still remains about the future of us living with low levels of this virus.”
When asked if society will return to full normality by the end of the year, he said: “I think our behaviours will be modified for some time to come.”